Paperbacks: Gallimaufry, by Michael Quinion

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The Independent Culture

Prompted by its title ("a hash made from odds and ends"), this tasty stew of vanishing vocabulary begins in the kitchen, though the very first word "mess" (as in "pottage"), which meant a serving of food (from the Latin messum, something put on the table), is enjoying a revival on fashionable menus with Eton mess.

Will we also see the return of "boiled baby" (suet pudding in muslin) or "Bastard" (a sweet wine mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry IV)? Appropriately considering his publisher, Quinion informs us that "buttery", the term for the bar in Oxford colleges, is nothing to do with butter. It's where the butts were kept.

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