Thanksgiving comes with lots of food, family and friends – and some fun words. My favorite this year is spatchcock, which apparently means partially deconstructing your turkey before you roast it. (Martha Stewart can explain to you why this is a good idea, I won’t bother.) It’s a fun word to say — and if one did not know what it meant, you could make up all sorts of interesting fake definitions! Another item which traditionally graced the Belanus holiday table is rutabagas. (Though the Belanus-Francis holiday table rarely goes through the trouble – this hard version of a turnip, or swede, is rather a pain to peel as it usually comes covered in some waxy substance, and takes forever to cook to be soft enough to eat.) Rutabaga, another fun word to say for sure, with roots (so to speak) in a Swedish dialect. Not to digress, though I will anyway, I recall when our food coordinator for the 1987 Smithsonian Folklife Festival had to try to find a rutabaga totally out of season, in July, for something a cook from Michigan was cooking – I think it was pasties, which has a whole other fun etymology and double meaning… Hmm. Then, there are the regional terms for foodstuffs. Take “stuffing” for instead. Or, do you call it “dressing”? Well, in Western Pennsylvania, they call it “filling.” All making perfect sense, of course.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend to everyone, enjoy some leftover turkey and pie if you have any, and while you are rolling it around your tongue try out some of these Thanksgiving vocabulary words as well.