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AWADmail Issue 403

Mar 21, 2010

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language

Email of the Week
(Courtesy Uppityshirts -- Smart T-shirts for smarty-pants.)

From: Bruce Dan (drbbd aol.com)
Subject: salmagundi
Def: 1. A heterogeneous mixture. 2. A mixed salad of various ingredients.

A little more than 35 years ago I started what has become an annual spring party and invited friends to what I called a Salmagundi. Each invitee was required to bring an unusual item to put into a huge salad. I provided the very large mahogany salad bowl and the green leafy things. What we dined on depended on the creativity and imagination of the guests. Each year the gathering is a new collection of friends and always a new and surprisingly salad.

From: Joy Livingstone (joyliving aol.com)
Subject: Salmagundi

Solomon Gundy came in a little jar when I was a child in Jamaica, West Indies, in the 1950s. Yes, I do remember the anchovy taste. We put it on crackers. I have not encountered the word or the condiment itself until now, decades later.

From: Rodger Lewis (via postal mail)
Subject: salmagundi

Salmagundi is also the title of a delightful collection of some twenty sketches by Washington Irving and his friends, published in the early 19th century.

From: B.J. Yudelson (bjy yudel.com)
Subject: salmagundi

For 30 years, our Public Radio's morning show was called Salmagundi. I loved waking up to the host's melange of classical music, off-beat music, poetry, crazy comments, interviews, and news. Now that host has retired, and his replacement plays only classical with straightforward news and national feeds. It's pleasant, but I miss the spice that got every day off to an interesting start.

From: Peter B. Ives (pives unm.edu)
Subject: salmagundi

Salmagundi is also the name of a notable on-again-off-again literary magazine going back as far as Washington Irving's publication of 1807, then revived in 1900 at Dickinson College, and again reconstituted and continuing from 1969 at Skidmore College.

From: Erin Ruddick (eruddick13 gmail.com)
Subject: Salmagundi

The yearbook at my college (Colgate University) was called Salmagundi, or "the Sal". What a lovely way to start the week, reminiscing about the heterogeneous mixture of students I met there!

From: Anne Parent (annept hotmail.com)
Subject: salmagundi

This word instantly reminded me of an old nursery rhyme. As Wikipedia quotes it:
"The rhyme has varied very little since it was first collected by James Orchard Halliwell and published in 1842 with the lyrics:

Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
This is the end
Of Solomon Grundy."

Also see, this animated video.

From: Michael Sharman (jmsharman tiscali.co.uk)
Subject: salmagundi

The longest word in any language was penned by Aristophanes (Eccl 1169) in about 388 BC. In the Greek it has 172 letters. This is an answer to the question 'What did you have to eat?' So he rattles off a list of about two dozen items of food, a sort of salmagundi, presumably all in one breath. Aplatefulofsaltedfishn'sharkn'stewn,vegn'honeysaucen'chickenn'pigeonn'ouzo.... etc. Aristophanes is often regarded as the greatest comic poet of all time. Even reading The Clouds at school as a set book was amusing (in parts!).

From: Redrob (via Wordsmith Talk bulletin board)
Subject: Olla podrida
Def: 1. An incongruous mixture. 2. A spicy stew.

I never knew what it was called, but when I was an impecunious teacher of English in Spain more than 30 years ago I practically lived on this. I shared a flat in Seville with a mad Basque who showed me how to make it and we had a pot going more or less constantly. The main ingredients were chorizo and chick peas supplemented by whatever vegetables were cheap at the market. Thank you, AWAD, for bringing back memories!

From: diane wilson (dianewilson826 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--olla podrida

What a great word! In Dallas, Texas, Podrida was the name of an artisan shopping center. Lots of small locally owned shops -- artists, original jewelry. It was a beautiful building of rough-hewn rock and beautiful windows. It was not uncommon to hear around Dallas "Podrida" in response to "Hola". Ahhh...memories!

From: Michael Greene (michael greenes.com)
Subject: olla podrida

Back in the 60s, my high school, Berkeley High, called its year book Olla Podrida. As I was more interested in girls than words, I didn't stop to wonder what the phrase meant.

My interest in the distaff side hasn't waned but thanks to AWAD, one of life's mysteries is solved.

From: Becky Braidman (bbraidman oldcolonyymca.org)
Subject: Olla Podrida

In Cuba, we use the term "arroz con mango" (rice and mango) to describe things that are incongruous, which is strange because I find there is very little that does not get improved by the addition of rice OR mango.

From: Kali Eichen (kalieichen gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--prandial
Def: Of or relating to a meal.

A favorite phrase in my household is "post-prandial torpor" which is a fancy way to say "food coma".

From: Leslie E. Reese, M.D. (lereese suddenlink.net)
Subject: Prandial

In medicine, we never use one Latin-derived word if two are available. In addition to pre- and post-prandial, we also use ante- and post-cibal, from the word "Cibum", from "Cibus", meaning food. Their abbreviations, "a.c." and "p.c." are used in specifying whether a medication is to be taken before or after eating.

From: Causse Jean-Pierre (causse.jean-pierre orange.fr)
Subject: prandial

Prandial is used in France by doctors and chemists (pharmacists) in the phrase "risque de somnolence post prandiale", which means that there is a risk of feeling sleepy after a meal when you have taken certain types of medicine. It's written on the paper accompanying the medicine.

From: Leslie Hayes (lesliehayes fastmail.fm)
Subject: prandial

Any medical person who takes care of people with diabetes is familiar with the word prandial. We use it to discuss blood sugars (pre-prandial and post-prandial) and timing of insulin One popular insulin regimen is basal (or 24-hour insulin) which keeps sugars low all day, combined with short-acting, prandial insulin, which just covers the sugar rise from meals

From: Victor L. Hunter (viclhunter aol.com)
Subject: eating our words

You commented "eating our words is never pleasant". Winston Churchill commented that he often had to "eat his words" and always found them rather delicious.

From: Amelia Allan Bullard (bullard icon.co.za)
Subject: No literary giant

I am no literary giant, am a bad speller, and don't expect to be published but was given A.Word.A.day as a gift a couple of years ago and wanted to thank you. A.Word.A.day has really come into play while mourning my husband's death over the last year -- it is a bit of daily energy, little pearls of wisdom that are sometimes beyond me, that make me feel good about knowing some words (and being able to spell them!) and that give me encouragement from Thought-for-Today. Thank you for keeping me on the straight and narrow by being a part of a bigger world (of language).

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink. -John Ray, naturalist (1627-1705)

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