Culinary linguisitics, the evolution of food names

Joined May 26, 2001
Another thread leads me to wonder, Which foods can we think of that whose names seem to have evolved from one name to another, similar-sounding one in other cultures?

The specific food that brought me here is "Solomon Gundy," a spiced, smoked herring mash, which might be related to "Salmagundi," a composed salad including chopped meats and (sometimes pickled) vegetables.

But off the top of my head, there's also pelau - perloo - pilau - pilaf. All vaguely related in ingredients, yet totally different in their respective cultures.

Can anyone else come up with others?
Joined Dec 7, 2001
KETCHUP: Also catchup, Catsup. A condiment consisting of a thick, smooth-textured, spicy sauce usually made from tomatoes.[Probably Malay kechap, fish sauce possibly from Chinese (Cantonese) ke-tsiap]
Notes: The word ketchup exemplifies the types of modifications that can take place in the borrowing process, both in the borrowing of a word and in the borrowing of a substance. The source of our word ketchup may be the Malay word kechap, possibly taken into Malay from the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Kechap, like our word, referred to a kind of sauce, but a sauce without tomatoes; rather, it contained fish brine, herbs, and spices. The sauce seems to have emigrated to Europe by way of sailors, where it was made with locally available ingredients such as the juice of mushrooms or walnuts. At some point, when the juice of tomatoes was first used, ketchup as we know it was born. However, it is important to realize that in the 18th and 19th centuries ketchup was a generic term for sauces whose only common ingredient was vinegar. The word is first recorded in English in 1690 in the form catchup, in 1711 in the form ketchup, and in 1730 in the form catsup. These three spelling variants of a foreign borrowing remain current.

Source: American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition 1992 MM by Dorothy Flatman 1997 From: Dorothy Flatman Date: 06 Mar 97


above is excerpt from:
Joined Apr 19, 2001
How about 'curry'? I think originally derived from an Indian word 'Kari', or Kaari (depending on the dialect); the word originally meant the blend of spices used for a particular dish; the common meaning now is a dish or a commercial blend of spices. The Indian kitchen has no bottle of 'curry powder' in it - they use a particular blend of spices for each dish.

Also, 'teriyaki' - in Japanese cooking, refers to a glaze made of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, maybe a little sake, a little sugar, which is brushed on food toward the end of the cooking time; now more commonly refers to a dish; i.e., 'salmon teriyaki', etc. And usually the food is marinated in the 'teriyaki sauce' before cooking.

I love this! I also love tracing a food from its country of origin through different countries, and seeing the changes it undergoes as it is adopted by a particular native cuisine! For example, curry, as above, originated in India, traveled up through the Far East until it reached Japan, where they adopted and adapted it to their own style? Or that fried food and pork was not known in Japan until the Portuguese came to Japan? So tempura and tonkatsu are fairly new dishes.
Top Bottom