Revisiting 16: pouch(ed) and scrumble(d) eggs

Follow-ups to my 12/9 posting on poach egg ‘poached egg’: from Tim Evanson on Google+, pouched egg for poached egg (which will, of course, take us to pouch egg); and from several Facebook friends, scrumbled egg for scrambled egg (and then scrumble egg). An egg party, with eggcorning and t/d-deletion.


I wonder if [poach eggs] are better than the “pouched eggs” they had at a diner here in Cleveland?

Oh Tim, not just in Cleveland; it’s an international thing. First, some examples, then comes the discussion (“Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral”).

Pouched eggs. There are quite a few examples in cookbooks. Here’s a whole bunch of on-line examples, to convince you of the ubiquity of the usage:

On the Martha Stewart site, this Emeril Legasse video:

(#1) “Pouched Eggs and Potato Duck Hash” Part 1  — but he says “poached eggs” (the illustration is of a brunch drink to accompany the eggs)

From SparkRecipes: a recipe for “(gluten free) pouched eggs”

From a TripAdvisor nasty review of the Sesuit Harbor Club in Dennis MA: “Under cooked pouched eggs and sweet rotten potatoes-horrible”

From the myfitnesspal site: “Calories in Homemade 2 Pouched Eggs”

From a TripAdvisor New Zealand review of Angelina Paris, in Paris, France: “2 Angelina breakfast with scrambled eggs and pouched eggs”

From a TripAdvisor Australia review of the Early Bird Restaurant in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: “Pouched Eggs and Cottage Cheese”

A Doctor Wine recipe: “Pouched eggs on a sweet tomato sauce topped with figs”

From a TripAdvisor Hong Kong review of the X74 Cafe Restaurant in Coogee, Randwick, NSW, Australia: “Crumbed pouched eggs”

Misspelling? Wiktionary labels pouched egg as a “misspelling” of poached egg — which just says that the spelling is incorrect but doesn’t advance a hypothesis as to how it came about.

First hypothesis: pure inadvertent error. It’s a typo, a glitch in the writing or typing process: the person who produced the spelling knows perfectly well how to spell POACHED, but inadvertently chose an U instead of an A. The only half-reasonable account of this sort I can think of is that it’s a keyboard typo, arising from confusing similar finger actions (adjacent keys, corresponding keys on the two hands, etc.) — like ARBOLD for ARNOLD. Nothing there.

Second hypothesis: an ignorance error: the writer is unsure of the spelling of the word, and spells “by ear”, choosing an OU spelling for the /o/ in poached from among the possible spellings for this vowel. This is quite unlikely, given the pronunciation values for the spelling OU. In order from most frequent to least frequent:

1. almost always /aw/: found. about, scour, house, shout, our, mouse, hour, rouse, count, loud, flour, sound, couch, …

2. /o/ or /ɔ/ (depending on the phonetics and the phonemic system of your variety) before /r/ in some words: four, pour, course, court, gourd, mourn, fourth, …

3. /u/ in a small set of words: you, your, tour, wound, crouton, group, coup (plus recent French borrowings)

4. /∧/ in a few other words, among them: country, cousin, double, trouble, couple

So POUCHED would almost surely be pronounced /pawčt/, just like pouched ‘having a pouch’. Not likely as an ear spelling for /počt/ (POCHED, maybe, but not POACHED).

Third hypothesis: POUCHED is an eggcorn, a replacement spelling for standard POACHED based on seeing a poached egg as a pouch (the cooked egg white) enclosing the egg proper (the still-liquid egg yolk). It’s an attempt to find more and better meaning in pouched. And that’s what seems most likely to me at the moment.

Pouch eggs. Once we have pouched eggs, t/d-deletion can kick in. Three examples:

In a TripAdvisor New Zealand review of TWG Tea in Jakarta, Indonesia:

(#2) “Mushroom risotto with pouch egg and asparagus”

In a TripAdvisor review of Cameron Highlands Resort, Tanah Rata, Malaysia: “pouch egg with potato croquet” (that is, croquette)

On the ClicknChop site, a recipe for “Pouch Egg”

Scrumbled eggs. This one had apparently come up in earlier Facebook language discussions. Scrumbled is either an eggcorn, arising from re-working scrambled to get crumble into it, or else a straight-out portmanteau of scramble and crumble. In any case, it’s reasonably well attested. Three examples:

A recipe on the cookpad site:

(#3) “Scrumbled eggs”

From a TripAdvisor review of the Arcadia Restaurant in Athens, Greece: “Scrumbled eggs”

On the epicurious site, a recipe for: “Scrumbled Eggs with Tomato and Cheese – Strapatsada”

Scrumble eggs. And then the t/d-deletion variant. Three examples:

A recipe on the cookpad site:

(#4) “Summer Scrumble Eggs with Peppers”

A TripAdvisor review of CJ’s Eatery in Seattle WA: “Scrumble eggs”

A TripAdvisor Australia review of the Olympic Flame Cafe in San Fracisco CA: “Scrumble eggs and bacon with bread”

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