Christian Sauce

As on this advertisement, recently noticed in New Orleans by John Dorrance, who posted it in Facebook with only the comment “Seriously?”:

(#1) Available at the French Market, next to the Voodoo Sauce?

Well, yes, seriously. It’s a Hispanic man’s name Christian Sauce /krístian sáwse/, not an English compound noun Christian sauce, though commenters on John’s page (including the one who provided the basis for the caption of #1) preferred to have sport with the English compound noun, which affords a number of entertaining understandings.

Then there’s Christian Sauce, un abogado bilingüe practicing in Gretna LA, especially providing services to the Hispanic community (though not restricted to that). Of some linguistic interest with regard to both parts of his name.

The lawyer and his name. Christian Sauce seems to be a Venezuelan American, educated first in Caracas and then Fort Lauderdale FL, eventually getting a law degree from Tulane. In addition to general legal practice of all sorts and immigration law, he also has a specialization in maritime law.

He was married in 2002 to Maria Elisa Cordero, also from Caracas. They have three daughters. An attractive family, seen here in a photo on CS’s Facebook page:


The personal name. Reasonably common as personal names in Spanish are Cristian (accented on the first syllable), Cristián (accented on the last syllable), and Cristiano; Christian is a more “classical” (or more Anglicized) spelling of Cristian — apparently uncommon in Spanish-speaking countries, but reasonably common in the U.S.

The family name. Sauce seems to be an uncommon Hispanic surname; perhaps it’s a clipping of the much more common Saucedo / Sauceda. From Wikipedia:

Saucedo is a Spanish surname that became popular in the 16th century. It means “Of or relating to the Willow Tree” [Latin salix ‘willow’]. The first people with that name were Spanish settlers who came to America from an area in Spain known as the “Valle de Salcedo” (Salcedo Valley, in the Basque Country). From then on, the name [varied] from Salcedo to other names such as Saucedo [also Sauceda]. The Basque version is Saratsu or Sarasua.

But there is a Sauce connection to Venezuela, in fact to Caracas. From Wikipedia:

Ángel Sauce, (born in Caracas, Venezuela on August 2, 1911; died in Caracas, Venezuela on December 26, 1995), was a Venezuelan composer, violinist and conductor. He was founder of multiple choirs and orchestras, and for more than twelve years he directed the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra. He received two National Music Prizes in Venezuela, one in 1948 for his composition Cecilia Mujica and one in 1982 for general achievements in his lengthy career.

(I’ll send this material on to CS at the only e-mail address I have for him, which is his business address, and invite him to comment on his names and what he knows about their history.)

The N + N compound Christian sauce. I’ll put aside the nominal Adj + N  phrase Christian sauce ‘sauce that is Christian’, in one or another use of the Adj Christian, and also compounds with the N2 sauce ‘impertinence’, and focus on subsective compounds of the form N1 + N2, that is, on those in which the referent of Christian sauce is a sauce. There’s plenty of room for variability, even with these restrictions.

First, there are several possibilities for the N2 sauce: the non-slang noun sauce:

thick liquid served with food, usually savory dishes, to add moistness and flavor: tomato sauce | the cubes can be added to soups and sauces. (NOAD2)

or any of several slang nouns sauce, mostly referring directly to metaphorical sauces — fluids or liquids, especially thick ones. From GDoS (with the date of the first cite for each entry):

1 a venereal disease [1667, from the genital discharge]  2 vaginal fluids [1663]  3 money [1749]  4 (US) petrol, gasoline [1919]  5 (orig. US) alcohol, (rarely) drugs [1935]  6 (US campus) beer [1973]  7 (US gay) semen [1972]

That’s all about N2. Then there’s the semantic relationship between N1 and N2. As I’ve posted a number of times, this relationship can be extraordinarily indirect and context-dependent, or it can be chosen from a relatively small list of canonical relationships, two of which are

Source: sauce from Christians, sauce made of/from Christians

Use: sauce for Christians (to use)

Facebook commenters on the compound exploited a number of these possibilities. The interpretation in the caption for #1, for instance, takes sauce to have the culinary referent and the compound as a whole to have a complex, non-canonical relationship between its parts, roughly, ‘sauce used in Christian ceremonies’, parallel to voodoo sauce, roughly ‘sauce used in voodoo ceremonies’.

Another comment — “A more modest proposal…” — employed the culinary referent for sauce and the Source relationship between sauce and Christian, in an allusion to Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

From Wikipedia:

A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies.

Thus evoking the image of a culinary sauce made from Christians.

Also outrageously: since several of the commenters were American gay men, their comments exploited GDoS‘s sense 7 of sauce, ‘semen’:

Anoint me, Daddy!

What does Christian Sauce taste like? SALVATION (with a possible play on salivation)

Readers can no doubt imagine other possibilities.

One Response to “Christian Sauce”

  1. chrishansenhome Says:

    My first name is “Christian”. My grandfather had the identical name “Christian Peter Hansen” and my great-grandfather was “Christian Hansen” with no middle name that I’ve been able to discover. His father was named “Peter” so I suppose that’s where that came from.

    My pet, Peeve, is that when I am introduced to people as “Chris” they invariably try to lengthen it to “Christopher”. My invariable response is “It’s CHRISTIAN, dammit!” said at relatively high volume.

    Some “friends” think they are funny by always addressing me as “Christopher”, which is a nice name, but it’s not mine.

    When I was in elementary school, there was one “Christian”, two “Christines”, a “Christopher” and a “Christina” in my class. This made for a lot of confusion when someone was called on as “Chris”.

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