Archive for the ‘Language and food’ Category

California’s iconic food

May 23, 2015

In the NYT yesterday, a feature story on agriculture’s contribution to the California drought. The teaser on the front page:

How We Drain California
Each week, the average American consumes more than 300 gallons of California water by eating food that was produced there. To fundamentally alter how much water the drought-ravaged state uses, everyone may have to give something up. A guide to thirsty foods, like the avocado.

Illustration: a slim sliver of avocado, with the caption:

The average American eats a sliver of California avocado each week. It takes 4.1 gallons of water to produce.

Alas, the avocado is California’s iconic food. Avocados would be a considerable sacrifice for Californians, and everybody, Californian or otherwise, would have to give up guacamole, even on Super Bowl Sunday.


Fig time

May 20, 2015

A couple days ago I caught a snippet of a discussion on KQED-FM about overwintering fig plants. Why people were discussing the topic as we near the beginning of summer I don’t know, but there it was. I’m not caring for any fig plants here in Palo Alto, but back when I lived in Columbus OH most of the year I had two: a Ficus benjamina, a very common house plant in temperate climates; and a Ficus carica, the plant the people on the radio were talking about (an ornamental and the source of the figs we eat), which I grew in Columbus as a potted plant, to serve as a reminder of California.

Now some figgy reflections, starting with some Ficus plants and then wandering on to other fig-related matters: the fig leaf of modesty, figgy pudding, Fig Newtons, and the negative polarity item care/give a fig.


Hatch NM

May 10, 2015

Today’s Zippy takes us to Hatch NM, which is famous for two things: green chiles and giant fiberglass figures:


The two are packaged together in this remarkable artifact:



Flavor combos

May 9, 2015

Sonic Drive-Ins are currently advertising Master Blast flavor combos in a “Blast Scout” commercial featuring three of its ice cream plus mix-in desserts:

Waffleberry Brownie. Strawberry Pucker Pie. Banana-Bo-Bana Crumble.

The last has a bit of well-known word play.

(These have more inventive names than the flavors officially introduced to their menu recently: Triple Chocolate, Turtle Pecan, Pineapple Upside Down, Banana Split, Caramel Brownie, Cookie Dough. But then customers are free to create their own combos using the many mix-ins available.)


L’eggo my Eggo!

May 8, 2015

Recently I’ve been noticing an apparent uptick in “L’eggo my Eggo!” commercials on tv, after a period in which the slogan appeared but was not the focus of Eggo ads. My impression turns out to have been accurate: a 10/27/14 article in Advertising Age. “‘L’Eggo My Eggo’ Tagline Makes Comeback” explained that the slogan had indeed been sidelined for some time but was revived as the centerpiece of the ad campaign last year. The slogan has a number of things going for it: it’s familiar (it’s been around since 1972); it rhymes; it has an attractively vernacular tone to it; and the conceit embodied in it — that Eggo waffles are so delicious that no one would be willing to share one — is entertainingly hyperbolic.

To consider: the history of the food; the history of the slogan; phonological and syntactic notes on the slogan.


Return to Norms

May 7, 2015

Today’s Zippy takes us back to a Norms diner:


We were last in a Norms on January 15th; writeup about the diners, a photo, and a Zippy of 8/22/06 in this posting.

Now we have Zippy negotiating with the annoying Happy Boy on cole slaw, vintage vinyl, and tuna melts.



May 5, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm, featuring roly polies:


Roly polies the fascinating creatures. Then there’s Jam Roly-Poly, the British sweet; the roly-poly toy; Roly Poly, the chain of sandwich shops; and the adjective roly-poly ‘having a round, plump appearance’, which leads us to the Australian film The Roly Poly Man. All are rooted in the verb roll, in various uses.


Feuilleton: red-flannel hash

April 30, 2015

Noticed in passing: a recipe in the NYT for red-flannel hash: a colorfully named dish.


Grimmy rides with Snoopy

April 28, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm does a crossover with Peanuts:


That’s Snoopy, who imagines himself as a World War I flying ace, while imagining his doghouse as a Sopwith Camel.



Morning: Great American Dream Machine

April 26, 2015

This morning’s name: the television show The Great American Dream Machine. Bonus: grades of olives and their names.



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