6 February 2015

Friday's Literary Feast

Quotes from The Virago Book of Food:  The Joy of Eating


Recently I was thumbing through various collections hunting for obscure words describing food.  I came upon a truly extraordinary lost lexicon of gastronomy.  Of course, there were many names of now unknown dishes like pottage, mortrews, buknade and civet (all porridge-like substances).  The necessity in medieval times to smash, pulp and spice food beyond recognition makes many early dishes appear now quite unappetizing.  Small wonder these disappeared.  But what happened to the flurch of flampoints, I want to know, the licious lozens, the fitchet pies?  The descriptions under these throw flashes of light on past luxurious banquets, gastronomic galas and superb cooks.  Among these forgotten terms are opsophagist 'frequenter of pastry shops'; symposiast 'one of a drinking party, banqueter'; pabulous 'abounding in food'; eubrotic 'good to eat'; orectic 'characterized by appetite or desire'; esculent 'good to eat'; deipnetic 'fond of eating'; pamphagous 'omnivorous'; coenaculous 'fond of suppers'; gulch 'to swallow hungrily', and pinguedinize 'to make fat'.  The entries under pabulous comessations and dapatical ebrieties say it all.  Many such valuable and interesting words have vanished.  I've grown attached to smellfeast 'the uninvited dinner guest' and shotclog 'the companion tolerated because he or she pay for drinks'.  Potvaliant is a wonderful word for someone who's courageous through drink.  However, my current favourite would have to be supernaculum, a word referring to the act of drinking the very last drop from a glass or bottle.  How can we do without it?

Blooming English

Sister Monica Joan - Call the Midwife
(I read this quote and couldn't resist)


  1. I recently made a quidonny of quinces. Had to think for a second what I meant, as was about to say a quidditch of quinces - but that's Harrry Potter, isn't it?

  2. I am making a vow to use at least one of these words during the inevitable "any plans for the weekend" chat around the coffee pot this morning.

  3. Oh, I think I've discovered my favourite title of all: opsophagist!