POP with Poe

Another POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) from Hilary Price in today’s Rhymes With Orange:

(#1) Edgar Allan Poe + po’ boy

The Raven flies to New Orleans.

On the sandwich, from Wikipedia:

(#2) Shrimp po’ boy (from bon appětit magazine)

A po’ boy (also po-boy, po boy) is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana. It almost always consists of meat, which is usually sloppy roast beef or fried seafood which includes shrimp, crawfish, oysters and crab. The meat is served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy center.

The traditional versions are served either hot or cold and include fried shrimp and oysters. Soft shell crab, catfish, crawfish, Louisiana hot sausage, fried chicken breast, roast beef, and French fries are other common variations. The last two are served with gravy.

A “dressed” po’ boy has romaine lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise. Fried seafood po’ boys are often dressed by default with melted butter and sliced pickle rounds. A Louisiana style hot sauce is optional. Non-seafood po’ boys will also often have mustard; the customer is expected to specify “hot” or “regular”—the former being a coarse-grained Creole mustard and the latter being American yellow mustard.

The New Orleans sloppy roast beef po’ boy is generally served hot with gravy and resembles a Chicago Italian beef sandwich in appearance and method of preparation, although the size, bread, and toppings differ

… Today traditional po’ boy shops offer gumbos, bisques, jambalaya, crawfish kickers and boudin, a cajun sausage.

… In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as “oyster loaves”, a term still in use in the 21st century. A sandwich containing both fried shrimp and fried oysters is often called a “peacemaker” or “La Mediatrice”.

There are countless stories as to the origin of the term “po’ boy”.

The etymology is straightforward — < poor boy — but those countless stories are about how this N + N compound got to be the name for a kind of submarine sandwich.

OED3 (Dec. 2006) has poor boy as the name of the sandwich, with a first cite in 1931, and in a Dec. 2004 entry, po’ boy (with variants po boi, po-boi, po-boy, po’boy), this first cite from 1932:

New Orleans Classified Telephone Directory 108/2   Po Boi Sandwich Shoppe Inc.

Bonus language play: Poe puns. First from inveterate punster William Safire, who titled his 1996 book of “On Language” columns from the New York Times:

Quoth the Maven

Then, going Bill Safire one better, Patricia O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman titled their “Grammarphobia” column of 8/19/07, about positive anymore (as in Books are expensive anymore ‘books are expensive these days’):

Quoth the maven: “Anymore”?

One Response to “POP with Poe”

  1. Ben Zimmer Says:

    After Safire passed away in 2009, I paid tribute with an On Language column titled, “The Maven Nevermore.

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