Frenching AnneMarie or The Reason I Haven’t Blogged

I’m working on four books. Four freaking books at once.

No, it wasn’t a plan. Do I look insane?

I was supposed to be done with all of them and starting a fifth by now. I don’t know what happened. Well, yes I do.

There was Agnes. She was due August first. Trouble ensued. Now she’s not due until October first. I’m not even looking at her until Monday.

Then there was Mare. She was due April first. Trouble ensued. Then she was due August first. My editor gave birth and moved. She’d just as soon not see Mare right now until her head stops exploding so we have another week or so. We’re using it.

Then there’s Daisy. I wrote her ten years ago. She’s going to be re-issued. She needs spiffed up. Thinking that Agnes and Mare would be out the door by August 1, I promised that editor she’d be done by August 15. Not so much.

Then there’s Trudy. Trudy is done, but once a book’s in the pipeline, it returns in the form of copy edits which must be read and corrected. So I’m in Atlanta at RWA National, going out to dinner with the St. Martin’s people including a lovely marketing director, let’s call her AnneMarie, and I come down to meet her, full of goodwill and ready for a really expensive meal, dressed to kill and she hands me a padded envelope and says, “Here are your ‘Hot Toy’ copy edits.”

I said, “This is a joke, right?”

She said, “Unfortunately, no. I’m sorry.”

I said, “Did you bring the red pen?”

She said, “You don’t have a red pen with you?”

Later in the evening, during an entirely different conversation, she said, “You know, I’m not really one of those huggy, kissy people. People come up to me at conferences and want to hug and kiss, and I just don’t like it.”

I said, “I’m gonna french you over dessert.”

That evening turned out to be one of those delightful, delicious, bizarre meals. I love the people who were there, and the food was incredible, but as the wine was lavish, and as I am currently on medication that prevents me from drinking, it became more and more like a modern drama as they got happier and happier and I stayed stone cold sober.

At one point, my very adult and intelligent daughter frowned and said very clearly, “I don’t like beets.”

The entire table considered that, and then my mass market publisher nodded and said, “I DO like beets.”

I waited a moment, but they were all pondering that, so I said, “And right now, somebody is envying me because I’m having dinner with a bunch of elite New York publishing intellectuals.”

AnneMarie laughed so hard she choked, which she deserved.

Where was I? Right. Four books.

I’m just telling you this because somebody is going to say, “You know, she hasn’t blogged anywhere for awhile.” Yeah, I know, but trust me, I’m working. I’m diagramming structure. I’m e-mailing with collaborators, I’m double-checking things on the internet, I”m running spell checks, I’m rewriting like mad. Come late 2006, 2007, you’re not going to be able to spit without hitting a book with my name on it.

Of course, by then I’ll be curled up under my desk, sobbing and twitching, but by damn, I’ll have gotten these four books done.

In the meantime, if you see AnneMarie, give her a big kiss from me.

This just in from the infamous Needles, aka Kim C. of St. Martin’s Press:

“You should know that AMT handing you the page proofs at the conference was totally my fault. I figured why have them sit on your porch getting rained on and chewed on by wild birds when I could get her in trouble? Needles strikes again.”

I’d say, “If you see Needles, give her a big kiss for me,” but she’d enjoy it. Sigh. Never mind.

I just sent the Trudy galleys (not copy edit) to Needles. She was threatening me.
One down, three to go. (For those of you keeping track, it’s August 8th.)

Mare is out the door. (August 18th.)

146 thoughts on “Frenching AnneMarie or The Reason I Haven’t Blogged

  1. Thanks for the heads up, Jenny. We appreciate it. Now you can let us chat in peace while you work…we’ll still be here when you’re ready to come out and play.

  2. Four books???

    Ms Jenny…I’m really, really looking forward to the near future…

    Can hardly wait…

    vnykr green

    very new YEC, kiss Robert

  3. I can’t wait to be spitting on your books….wait that’s not right!!

    How about I leave it at I can’t wait!

  4. Don’t forget You Again. I love that one. Come six months, a year from now, there are going to be some very happy readers. Just don’t forget.

    ttedsoox (blue)
    Dutch elastic footwear?

  5. god that was hilarious Jenny. thank you.

    zaza: that’s what i was thinking. also, what about Slow Men and Charlotte?

    i love Jenny books. this may make you end up twitching, but i am going to love when these start coming out. and thanks for the deadline updates. i like knowing when i can expect the books. so soon, too.

    uh, Jenny, put the knife down. Jenny? please Jenny? they don’t like it when you kill your fans, Jenny!

    (but i cannot wait! beaming with excitement. BEAMING!)

  6. Speaking of beets, I just found out that in Hebrew it’s “selek” -well, okay, it’s really “samech lamed koof” but I don’t have the Hebrew alef-bet on my keyboard and I wouldn’t know how to get it onto the internet anyway.

    Of course I knew you’d want to know that.


    Looking forward to the books!

    (cjzgy -Czars just zoom grandly. Yup.)

  7. “Come late 2006, 2007, you’re not going to be able to spit without hitting a book with my name on it.”

    Pretty sure I’ve taken care of the spitting problem, but cool. Looking forward to the market glut of your books.

    When it’s time, take a pillow under the desk for comfort, a glass of wine for sustenance, and chocolate – well, just because you can.

    An afterthought, totally agree with your daughter regarding beets. A story my mom loves to tell. Suffice to say I saved my youger sister the indignity of having to eat beets as a child.

  8. Whee! More books by Jenny! I can see that my reading addiction will be well fed in the future. (My sympathies as to the four books at once, though. Reminds me of grad school.)

    Beets. I’ve rediscovered in the past few years how much I do like them. Beet greens sauteed in olive oil and then sprinkled with a little salt and balsamic vinegar are especially yummy.

    Halloween is still several months away, but for anyone into gory costumes, it’s been my observation that beet juice with balsamic vinegar gives a very realistic blood color. I’m sure this says something about me, but I prefer not to think about that too closely.

    Theresa in Pgh

  9. Douglas Adams said:
    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

    And he made millions of dollars writing books that everyone loved, so he must have been doing something right. Right? Oh well. Jenny if you need help rationalizing the whooshing deadlines, you’ve come to the right place 🙂

  10. Jenny Jenny Jennny – If you are not blogging because you are writing … WE ARE HAPPY. Jenny Crusie writing is a GOOD THING.

    We only bug about the blogging because we worry. We worry that you are curled up under your desk, sobbing and twitching instead of writing. You wanted to be a writer, you’ll just have to cope with keeping the monster (that would be us, your fans) happy.

  11. Four books? WOOHOOO!!

    Er…. Ahem….. poor Jenny.

    …I said it over on the dueling blog, but I’ve gotta say it again – I just got my copy of Don’t Look Down (I live in australia and it won’t come out over here for yonks – a friend had to pick it up for me in America) and I LOVED it!! Thankyou so much!!!
    Although… my house mate thought I was nuts when I did the five-point presentation to her, complete with Bob’s “Ta-Da!” – I couldn’t resist *grins*

  12. Great, now I have to go and by a rain slicker so that when I go to buy the books I can stay dry. Because after this post, I imagine there will be people standing in the center aisle, hawking loogies (oh that was spelled so wrong it is a crime) testing the theory. The good side to this is, while they are busy measuring the distance of their spit, I will be walking out of the store loaded with books and completely dry – you know, cause I’m gonna wear a rain slicker.

    So excited!!!!!

  13. beets are good. always liked beets. hate spinach. one of the few foods i really try to avoid.

    lynn: LOL. “pretty sure i took care of the spitting problem”…*snort*

    I’m still BEAMING with excitement here, Jenny. and bouncing. i’ve started to bounce. it’s really freaking my dad out, actually.

  14. Jenny: I know you’re much too busy to read this but…

    Remember at National when you and your sister were “politely discussing” your difference of opinion about the appearance of the cafe? (yes, they fought just like sisters — very mean) Well I woke up laughing this morning (it was scary) because I had a dream that the cafe changed appearance depending on which sister was in it at the time. Like it had a magic of its own. And that when both sisters were in it, well, trouble ensued, as you say.

    Of course, that would mean you’d probably have to re-write something. LOL.

    But really, as long as you’re going to do a book with magic, might as well go all out. Right? And please do try to keep your characters out of my dreams from now on, ok? That was just disturbing.


  15. Charity said … Because after this post, I imagine there will be people standing in the center aisle, hawking loogies (oh that was spelled so wrong it is a crime) testing the theory.

    *snort* Oh my I’m getting images in my head. A group of people standing in various locations at B&N: Person #1 “nope, can’t do it from over here in Travel”; p#2 – “wait a sec … nope, caught a corner of ‘Flirting’. Thought I had it.” p#3 “well, hell, no way I’m attempting it from SciFi – that’s only 2 rows over.”

  16. Dear Jenny, relax. Have a cup of chocolate (if Bob’s left you any) and some cookies. Maybe a Xanax or three.

    For a very modest fee (plus ARCs of all the books, of course), I can put you in touch with the secret Clones R Us lab in Andorra, where we produced the Elizabeth Lowell clones.

    No mole genes inserted THIS time, I promise. And we are NOT responsible for the cannibalism…

    udxlv — Use Doherty’s .45 (on demanding editors, not on yourself)

  17. You are a goddess

    I can’t even handle READING four books at once, let alone writing them.

    Just keep plugging away and you’ll get there, I hope. And I’m super excited for the release of everything… pretty soon B&N will look like my bookcase, full of Jenny!

    wvsgnakd: we very sausy gals never act kiddish, duh!

  18. Should we all get together and plan dinners for Jenny? OH- you get Mondays, I’ll take Tuesdays, and we’ll work on the rest. Since only Dru and Spike know where she lives they will have to be virtual dinners, of course.

    I have 2 sons so I am not really into spitting, but if I have to spit to get a Jenny Cruise book, look out bookstores, start handing out ponchos.

    Lord, they already think I am the crazy lady in town, that would REALLY help my reputation. But anything for Jenny.

    We could help you look over those books…..we’d all volunteer. We’re all VERY helpful!

    I would like to send you and the girls in the basement my best wishes for productive days.

    Mollie’s right- Beets are nasty.

  19. In high dudgeon, I told a high school friend that my father had gotten borscht. Liquified beets? Please.

    She was equally horrified. She thought borscht was a euphemism for drunk.

    I don’t like beets.


    P.S. Anything we can do to lessen the stress? Anything?

    red: hgbuocq
    yeah, RIGHT.
    red: ooygbgny
    oh, oh yes: going batty, going new york

  20. I find antioxidants help in times of great stress, and they don’t all even have to come from chocolate or coffee.
    vitamins B1, 6 and 12 are even better than, you know, gin.


  21. Jenny, you are amazing. Four books at once! I can’t wait for late 2006/2007. Happy dancing.

    It’s worth waiting for you to blog because when you do it’s hilarious.
    I bet the morning after the dinner when you were the only one without a headache, you smiled smugly at all the rest.

    Beets, I really like them especially tiny pickled beet balls. They really call them that (the beets). The first dinner I ever cooked for the man who would become my DH consisted of fish, Harvard beets and some starch and green. He ate everything complimenting me profusely. I didn’t learn until after we were married that he hated beets and fish. I guess I should have served more wine with the meal.

  22. oh my god…four books! An orgy of reading plleasure. Now how can I concentrate on writing my book when my head is full of reading Jenny’s books!!

  23. ‘Borscht’ as a euphemism for drunk?! I love that. Thanks Anonymous. Although it sounds more like the onomatopoeia of blowing beets.

    Sorry, TMTI*, I know.

    *Too Much Technicolor Information

    badeu – adios to the bad guys. In French, sort of.

  24. I’m sorry, but I am ecstatic that you have 4 books out soon. I am sorry it might make you twitch, but to me, it’s worth it!

  25. ok, i’ve gone from bouncing to clapping. my dad’s going to send people in white coats after me soon.

    wapa: though i hate to cook, anything to help Jenny and the girls in the basement. you like chicken, Jenny? i can make BBQ, mustard (sounds a lot worse than it tastes), this crunchy kind that isn’t fried chicken, mayo (again, sounds worse than it tastes), plain, etc, etc. {i’ve had a LOT of chicken in my life.} cookies. meatloaf. corn beef. anything you want, i’ll cook it. i’m a good cook.

    oh geez, now i’m hungry. got to go find some dinner.

  26. and I stayed stone cold sober.

    …I am so sorry. Change meds ?

    At one point, my very adult and intelligent daughter frowned and said very clearly, “I don’t like beets.”

    ..said daughter is very adult and intelligent. Beets are not so bad–once you get to know them.

  27. I like the idea of not being able to spit without hitting one of your books. Hope the twitching isn’t too incapacitating…

  28. Aha! Needles strikes again! Shoulda known if something nefarious was going on she’d be behind it. How’s mother?

  29. Well now we know what the vultures were waiting for. Copy edits.

    I’m starting to think I got off easy. She only hugged me. Twice.


  30. rss said…
    the man who would become my DH consisted of fish, Harvard beets and some starch and green. He ate everything complimenting me profusely. I didn’t learn until after we were married that he hated beets and fish. I guess I should have served more wine with the meal.

    Not really. He married you anyway. ;+)

    So, Jenny, did you feed Mollie a lot of beets growing up? I love beets. Never met a beet I didn’t like. And I also loved canned spinach when I was little. That one still puzzles me, but beets are good – good for you, too. All those brightly colored veggies pretty much are.

    wqwrisve (red) good lord!
    When queens write, reading is so very excellent. Yay! Jenny being The Queen, of course.

  31. zaza said “All those brightly colored veggies pretty much are.”

    i’m not quite sure why, but LMAO.

    Mother? where are you? please leave Jenny alone- she has FOUR books to write.

  32. I used to have a cat that was quite fond of cold beets.

    And beer.

    rzegety — Robena, Zoe’s egret got excellent tofu yesterday.

  33. You didn’t clarify your stand on the beet issue. Personally, I’m with Molly on this one.

  34. I like beets. They don’t really have much taste on their own and they are a good source of iron.

  35. If we’re doing virtual dinners, I make a great King Ranch Chicken casserole. Of course, if its virtual, I can make a great anything you want. Especially if it gets those 4 books out faster.
    Woohoo – can’t wait!
    As for beets – yuck. Canned spinach- I love it even more than the real stuff.

  36. Okay not to get off “topic” with the virtual meal thing going on. (I personally prefer acutal consumable calories… I find it keeps starvation at bay) But is the “Daisy” Jenny blithely refers to the Daisy in “The Cinderella Deal”? I can’t think of anything else with a Daisy in it that would need to be re-worked because of a re-issue.

    Uh Oh Cherry
    (who can’t get this blog to recognize her either…)

  37. Uh Oh Cherry…yes, it is. If you go on the Cherry forums, there was a discussion about what changes she should/should not make. I might actually by it. I have have the original Cinderella Deal; it would be really interesting to compare it to the re-issue.

    wnszy….Webster needs some zany YEX.

  38. When Americans say ‘beets’, do you mean the vegetable we call ‘beetroot’? Round and turnip-like, but dark red?
    Just checking.
    There are so many linguistic pitfalls between American and British English, and foods are particularly confusing.

  39. Tigress – yes beets are those small round red things. Sometimes called red beets … though I’m not aware that they come in any other color.

    And for my addition to the virtual dinner I can bring my family’s red beet salad. Dice redbeets and soak in vinegar water until they acquire a nice flavor. Also dice hardboiled eggs. Thoroughly drain beets and added diced eggs. Toss with mayonnaise – just enough to ‘wet’ beets, not so much that they swim in the mayo.

  40. MCB said: yes beets are those small round red things. Sometimes called red beets … though I’m not aware that they come in any other color.

    Right – so AE (American English) ‘beet’ = BE (British English) and AuE (Australian English) ‘beetroot’, i.e. the dark red variety of the beet species (Beta vulgaris). Because there are so many varieties and shapes and colours of the plant, I wasn’t sure that you were all talking about what I call ‘beetroot’ or one of the many other kinds of beet. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    They do come in other colours, e.g. golden yellow and white. Also in different shapes (sugar beet, grown commercially for sugar production, are large, long and tapered, a bit like huge, fat parsnips); some varieties are grown for the edible leaves rather than the roots, I believe. And they are not necessarily small – a full-grown beetroot can be easily 4″ diameter.

    Are beetroot usually eaten with vinegar in the US? I notice your recipe includes vinegar, and that is the usual way of eating them here, too – and probably accounts for the fact that so many people dislike them, since vinegar is far from a universal taste. One used to be able to buy them only ready-boiled, or bottled in vinegar, in the UK, though one can get them raw now and cook them in different ways. They are best (I think) in a mixed dish of roasted vegetables.

  41. Sugar beets – I’d forgotten about them, but yes I’ve heard of them.

    Beets are eaten w/ or w/o vinegar. At restaurant salad bars, where you create your own salad with a variety of greens and toppings, sliced or shredded plain beets are a common offering. You can also find the vinegar or ‘pickled’ variety.

    They are usually sold canned (both varieties), whole or sliced, though you can find them bulk or loose in some stores.

    They are also served sometimes as Harvard beets which is I think like pickling but sweeter. Don’t care for them that way myself.

    In my family we like to pickle them ourselves, the canned variety usually having too much dill for our taste. A common dish at big family gatherings is a huge jar of hard boiled eggs floating with beets in pickled beet juice. My brother-in-law, not a fan, refers to them as “those damn purple eggs”. The eggs don’t actually have much flavor, but they’re such a pretty pinkish/purplish color!

  42. Interesting, MCB. I hadn’t heard of the pickling of eggs and beetroot together; fascinating!

    Sugar beet is still grown as a major crop in this country for use in sugar production, something that started during the Second World War, when sugar imports from the Caribbean could no longer get through because of the naval blockades.

    Even ordinary beetroot have a high sugar content, even higher, apparently, than either carrots or parsnips, which both taste sweeter. I wonder if one could make a beetroot cake on the analogy of a carrot cake? It might be fun to try. It would undoubtedly be a memorable colour!

  43. I love beets. Just felt the need to reiterate.

    On the topic of different names for plants and food, on a recent trip to Scotland, the word “aubergine” kept showing up menus. Someone finally told me it was the word used there for eggplant.

    Theresa in Pgh

  44. ‘Aubergine’ is the normal word for AE ‘eggplant’ in most other Englishes, not just in Scotland!

    The list of different AE and BE names for vegetables in particular is quite a long one.

  45. AgTigress said…
    Interesting, MCB. I hadn’t heard of the pickling of eggs and beetroot together; fascinating!

    Mind you, I think its a localized thing. My family is originally (and most of them still) from an area described by the state weather people as “northwest central Pennsylvania” which is to say both north and west of Harrisburgh, the State Capital. And outside of that area I’ve never seen pickled eggs. Of course they also refer to green peppers as mangoes. No really. A friend of mine has an actual recipe book that incudes ‘stuffed mangoes’.

    Aubergine … I new it was that same blackish-purplish color, but I didn’t know it was another name for eggplant.

    We’re just getting so culturally educated, bless our hearts.

  46. AgTigress said…
    The list of different AE and BE names for vegetables in particular is quite a long one.

    Bill Bryson wrote a wonderfully funny and informative book called Made in American that discusses how AE differs from BE and why. One reason being that colonists encountered flora and fauna that they had no word for, and so they used an old word from back home. So we ended up with the same word for different things.

  47. McB the beets/eggs thing isn’t totally regional- my family is from Oklahoma and it is still common practice for us to toss boiled eggs in the beet juice after the pickled beets are eaten. And I don’t think i’ve ever had dill in my pickled beets, it’s usually more of a sweet pickle thing.

    as for sugar beets- know them well- the local sugar factory is 100 years old this fall- beets are still a common form of sugar around the world- and the beets around here are so sweet they can be used for everything but marshmallows. And if you’re really bored I’d be glad to explain the sugar process to you, but it’s booorrriiinnngggg

  48. Four books is good. Beetroot sucks. I especially hate when your hamburger comes with beetroot. Even after you take the evil stuff out all the other stuff in there is still coloured purple.

    Mmmm after thinking Four books is beyond great, maybe supercalifragilistic 🙂

  49. Margarita CB said: …outside of that area I’ve never seen pickled eggs.

    Oh, we have pickled eggs in the UK: also pickled beetroot. Just not the two together! 🙂

    The same words for different things, yes. When colonists in the New World saw a brown bird with an orange-red breast, naturally they called it a ‘robin’. But your robins are not related to our robins, which are much smaller, plumper little birds – yours are, in fact, members of the blackbird/thrush family, which is found in both continents.

    But also, different words for the same things, as in aubergine and eggplant, courgette and zucchini, turnip and – what is it – rutabaga? – chick-pea and garbanzo bean, Cos lettuce and, I think, arugula or some such word. I don’t know which version of the endive/chicory confusion American English uses (BE chicory = French endive, BE endive = French chicorée). These are just a few.


  50. AgTigress said…
    Oh, we have pickled eggs in the UK: also pickled beetroot. Just not the two together! 🙂

    From what I understand its a common pub offering? The pickled eggs, I mean. Try sticking some beetroot in there for color.

    I don’t know which version of the endive/chicory confusion American English uses (BE chicory = French endive, BE endive = French chicorée).

    Endive/chicory we use both words with different uses and I know they are members of the same plant family. Endive – sometimes used as salad greens, mostly mixed with other greens. Chicory – grown for the roots and used as an additive for coffee. I think its more popular in the south here in the U.S., although it was more widely used during WWII to make coffee rations go a little further.

  51. Jenny, I was laughing out loud as I read this. My DH, watching season 3 of “24” on DVD, kept looking over at me. I kept saying, “Sorry,” as I giggled. Finally, he reached the end of an episode (and probably his rope) and said, “WHAT?” I read him the whole thing.

    He just shook his head.

    I guess it’s a Cherry thing.

  52. Yes, pickled eggs used to be available in pubs. I rather doubt whether they still are – but I prefer to imbibe my alcohol at home, so I am not an authority on pubs.

    Endive leaves and chicory leaves can both be used in salad in the UK. Chicory is quite a bitter leaf.

  53. Chicory – eaten when grown like this, forced and blanched.

    I think you are quite right that they are basically the same plant. If the chicory leaves were not blanched, they would, of course, be green and leafy, but not frilly like the variety we call endive. Like flat and curly parsley, I suppose.

    By the way, Cos lettuce is romaine, not whatever I thought, which is something else that has a different name in BE. I think. I do get confused with the different dialects of English sometimes.


  54. MCB: that dish sounded really good.

    CC: i’m interested in the sugar process, if you have time. i love learning things here.

    beets. haven’t had beets for a long time.

  55. Chicory as a coffee additive originated during the War Between the States, because the Southern states couldn’t get coffee because of the Northern blockade, which is why it’s a Suth’n thing. I think at the lowest point they were using only ground chicory, no coffee at all.

    As a general rule, people who aren’t used to coffee with chicory can’t stand it when they encounter it, but this is not a truth universally acknowledged.

    mjwzm — Mollie! Jenny! Where’s Zaza’s mittens?

  56. I had no idea that American robins and British robins were different birds. So the phrase “robin red-breast” must have originated in BE. Thanks, Tigress, for bringing that up…it’s always bothered me that robins are described as “red-breast” when the ones I see in my yard are yellow-orange breasted.

  57. Actually, they both have orange-red rather than red frontages, but they are otherwise very different in appearance.

    The Wikipedia entries are good: here is the American Robin, Turdus migratorius:

    Very obviously a thrush-like bird, relatively elegant and elongated in shape.

    Here’s ours, Erithacus rubecula:

    Much smaller and rounder, back much paler, orange breast no more than a little bib. Their behaviour is different too: I have seen whole flocks of American Robins, but our Robins are solitary and very territorial.

    I had no idea when I first saw American Robins that they were called that: I could see that they were Thrush/Blackbird family, but the fact that they had an orange-coloured undercarriage didn’t, for me, connect them with ‘Robin’ at all.

  58. Tal said: Chicory as a coffee additive originated during the War Between the States,

    Are you quite sure about that, Tal? That is, that it originated there and at that, mid-19th C. date? I ask because there is a pretty long tradition of adding chicory to coffee in Europe, too, certainly going back well into the 19th century, especially in France. It seems a bit unlikely to me that coffee+chicory was an idea that was exported from the southern states of the USA to Continental Europe. Chicory was also a standard ingredient of ‘Camp Coffee’ (don’t ask).

    Perhaps the addition of chicory may have been adopted independently in different regions, and for completely different reasons; not necessarily because of a shortage of coffee, but because of an actual preference for the bitter note it adds to the taste.

    Coffee substitutes in times of real and severe shortage (e.g. Germany after the 2nd World War) usually involve dandelion – which, come to think of it, is a chicory-like plant – and even roast, ground beech-mast. I have drunk dandelion coffee many times. I don’t care for it, and it doesn’t seem to me to be much like coffee, but then, I am fairly indifferent to coffee.

    However, if anyone messes about with the tea, I really do get cross.

  59. Tigress – I suppose Suth’ners must have got the idea from somewhere, so why not Europe?

    Do we have the same dandelions? Never heard of them for coffee, but I have heard of their use in tea and a once upon a time use as salad greens, using the new, more tender leaves. And it seems to me I’ve heard of dandelion wine too although that sounds pretty horrid.

  60. I have never looked to see whether there are dandelions like ours in the USA, but I expect there are. Most of the gardens I have seen in the US are too neat and tidy to have weeds flourishing in them.

    Young dandelion leaves make a very good salad. I have eaten them in France, with an ordinary oil-and-vinegar dressing, and little crumbly bits of crispy bacon. Excellent. Dandelion wine certainly exists, but I imagine it is made from the flowers: I have never come across it.

    Dandelion tea would presumably be an infusion of the leaves – a tisane – but dandelion coffee is made, I think, from the roots, which have been roasted and ground. At least I assume so.

    The tea would be a diuretic. Note the dialect names for the plant, such as pissabed and, in French, pissenlit. I expect there are reams of information if one googles on this topic!

  61. ahem

    There was a pretty dandelion
    with lovely fluffy hair
    that glistened in the sunshine
    and in the summer air.

    But oh that pretty dandelion
    soon grew old and gray
    and sad to say her lovely hair
    blew many miles away.

    No, its not original. But I have no idea where it comes from. Somewhere waaaaay back in childhood.

  62. Thanks, Tigress, for the links. I’m still confused as to why robins are called redbreast. Both birds have orange breasts. Sigh. I guess it’s just one of those things that’ll never make sense. Like so much in life.

  63. amc – I haven’t checked how long ago the description ‘redbreast’ was first applied in (British) English to the European robin, but if it was a fair time ago – say, the 15th century – then it makes sense. Colour definitions become more and more numerous and precise in all languages over the passage of time, starting with very basic ‘black’, ‘red’, ‘blue’ etc, and only gradually adopting names for dilute colours, like pink, or mixed ones like orange and turquoise. Many of the later colour words can be spotted by the fact that they are named after objects typifying that colour – pink is a flower, orange a fruit, turquoise a gemstone.

    I can even think of distinctions that we don’t have in modern English, in spite of our huge number of colour words: Latin distinguishes between shining black and white and matt/dull black and white.(black = niger and ater; white = candidus and albus).

    So I suspect that in the Medieval period, the little robins were being called ‘Redbreast’ at a time when a range of colours from scarlet to orange to maroon could all be called ‘red’: the term then became a standard sobriquet for the bird, was used in poetry and other literature, and was eventually transported to North America, where it was applied to another orange-fronted bird.


  64. Tigress – might it also be a question of alliteration and poetic license? Robin Readbreast flows a mite prettier than Robin Orangebreast. Not the same ring at all.

  65. According to Wikipedia, “the distinctive red patch on the chest of both sexes led to its original name of redbreast. In the fifteenth century, when it became popular to give human names to familiar species, the bird came to be known as Robin redbreast, which was eventually shortened to robin.”

    Thanks, Tigress. I knew languages change over time, but I didn’t know about the color names changing. I don’t suppose you can recommend a good book on the history of languages and how they change?

  66. amc: I recommend The Adventure of English; the biography of a language by Melvyn Bragg (London 2003), and anything by David Crystal, e.g. The stories of English (London 2004). I am sure both are available in the USA. Bragg’s book is particularly readable; he is a novelist and radio/TV presenter, so is adept at using a very approachable style. Crystal writes rather more academically, but perfectly clearly.

    Both these are specifically about the English language, of course. For a much wider study of the evolution of languages generally, Steven Roger Fischer’s A history of language is excellent, and one does not need to have professional knowledge of linguistics, phonetics etc. to understand it. I have a UK edition published in 1999, but Fischer is a New Zealand scholar, and I am not sure if that is the date of the original edition.

  67. Ya’ll are so smart. I love … LOVE … the threads here.

    I can also recommend Bill Bryson’s book on English called the Mother Tounge (I think, brain freeze) and his book about American English called Made in America. They are educational AND funny. yay!

    And dandelion is a key ingreadient in natural diuretic teas found in co-op shops. Also in thenatural ‘dieters’ teas because apparently heavy women like me aren’t smart enough to understand the false comfort of water weight loss (grumble). I’m fat, not stupid, dammit.

    In Eastern Kentucky, where Jenny occasionaly sends a character to find a dog or get married, my grandma used to smake a spring salad of ‘kilt’ dandelion. No, we didn’t sew them wee skirts. Something was kilt when you drizzled boiling hot pork fat over it. Like a dressing. For white trash. It’s my heritage, I can mock. Outsiders would get bitch-slapped tho. Funny how that works.
    Anyone else ever eaten squirrel?

  68. Never have eaten squirrel, although I have wished death on the ones that ate my Christmas catcuses last summer and my jack ‘o lantern last Halloween. Scurvy little bastards.

    The squirrels in Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park are coal black with tufts on their ears and they are emmisaries of Satan. I nearly burst — well perhaps that’s TMTI — chasing one that ran off with my friend’s fanny pack that contained her trail mix, all of her money as she was moving to the West coast, and the only set of car keys she had.

    I prefer chickory in my coffee. That scares off all my coworkers, who happily make an entire 10-cup coffee pot with ONLY one and a half scoops of coffee.
    SNIF. I will not offend with my description of that slop.


  69. Tigress, Kyra, thank you for the recommendations. I appreciate it.

    Kyra..I’m curious. Does squirrel taste like chicken?

  70. I hate to admit it … but it does taste a little like chicken. With wee little drumsticks. But these were eastern red squirrels, not western emmisaries of Satan. They taste like brimstone.

    My dad is a physician and made coffee that could disolve the counter. I grew up on it. I’ve drunk an expresso not knowing it was ‘different’. Sadly, stomache problems make me a rare coffee drinker. I am a tea whore now. Barry’s tea … sent by the gods.

  71. Don’t eat any Kaibab squirrels from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon–they carry bubonic plague.

    I guess the South Rim ones are safe. With fava beans and a nice Chianti.

    eutdgx — Evil undertakers take Doherty’s great xeriscape (for gravesites, I suppose).

  72. Can one catch plague from eating an infected animal? Wouldn’t it be more dangerous if the squirrel sneezed in one’s vicinity?

    Just a thought.

  73. Actually, I believe plague is transmitted via fleas. Thus, eating a fully cooked squirrel (no pink) that has been rendered thouroghly flealess should be fine. The brimstone taste would throw me off though.

    Hmmm … what if the fleas sneezed?

  74. Of course you are right, Kyra; I was getting muddled between the means of transmission of the disease and one of its early symptoms. One would, indeed, have to be bitten by a flea that had bitten an infected squirrel.


  75. So its okay to eat a bubonic plague ridden squirrel as long as its cooked well?

    I think I’ll let someone else test that theory.

  76. mcb: I wouldn’t like it either, but I think the only kind of transmitted disease from fully cooked foods is mad cow .. becuase of the specialized protiens. I think. I wouldn’t risk it either come to think of it. But in theory (anyone have a degree in biochemistry or epidmemology?) it should be okay.

  77. mcb said: So its okay to eat a bubonic plague ridden squirrel as long as its cooked well?

    Well, in theory, umm, yes. I think. But like you, I should not like to put the theory to the test. I mean, I don’t even fancy eating a healthy squirrel, much.

    I am sure that in the past, people ate a great deal of food, especially meat, that was, by our standards, tainted or unfit in some way, but the thing is, if they had survived infancy and childhood at all, they were pretty tough, and were chock-full of antibodies and things. We are much more delicate flowers, owing to our obsessive concern with cleanliness and hygiene.

    Drop any of us down in the 15th century, and we’d probably expire in no time flat.


  78. Agtigress: the smell alone would kill us in the 15th century. The Peasents are revolting.

  79. Oh, smell! Not a problem. One can get used to a pervasive pong very quickly – especially if one is stinking ripely on the same wavelength oneself.

    How much do those of us who are city-dwellers today notice the smell of traffic exhaust pollution? We barely perceive it at all – yet it is very strong, and very unpleasant. Smokers don’t notice a thick fug of cigarette-smoke that chokes a non-smoker. These odours would probably knock a 15th. century peasant flat – till he got used to them.


  80. Pong! Fug! My anglophile self rejoices! Gawd, that is descriptive. I picked up all kinds of things when I was in Ireland. Turns out, riding a bike there has multiple meanings. Who knew?

    You are right though. Our noses would short out quickly.

  81. Kyra said … The Peasents are revolting.

    Yeah, well the nobility doesn’t smell much better.

  82. No no … you can he’s a king cause he’s not got shit all over him. Thus, less revolting :0)

  83. kyra: your a tea whore? me, i’m a water lover. hate coffee.

    i’m weird but i love dandelions. i know they’re weeds but they’re really pretty.

    haven’t had squirrel but i can tell you snake, which is good tasting, doesn’t taste like chicken.

  84. Dandelion tea is also made from the root. Methinks the difference is the root is not roasted.

    uenltj – unluckily, everyone n’yucks lovely tea jokes

  85. Yes, I freely admitt my addiction to tea. It’s lovely hot with honey and milk. However, I drink my green tea straight.

    I also drink eight glasses of water a day. I don’t drink sodas or things like that so after my morning tea, water it is. I get raging cotton mouth if I don’t drink my water … my body demands hydration!

    A tea ya’ll might enjoy that’s supposed to be good for women is rosemary and rosehip. Pour boiling water over a tablespoon of rosemary and a few rosehips in a mug and let it steep for a few minutes. The r & r will sink to the bottom adn you can sip your tea without debris. It’s good plain or with a little bit of honey.

    I’ve never had snake. Not even when i lived in Texas. Of course, eating snake turns your hands orange I’ve heard :0)

  86. kyrathered said…
    mcb: I wouldn’t like it either, but I think the only kind of transmitted disease from fully cooked foods is mad cow .. becuase of the specialized protiens. I think.

    *gets out soap box*
    BSE is transmitted through the consumption of intestines, brains, spinal cords and fluids and other componants of the central nervous system which are *not* a part of a typical beef-eating person’s diet but they can be found in some organ meats and there are regulations in place to protect organ meat. No, they are not ground up into hamburger or hot dogs either.

    The reason the disease, which has been around for centuries in sheep and is called Scrapie, has become more wide spread is because of the practice of using all non-food parts of the sheep as grist for cattle and sheep feed. Basically, everything that wasn’t meat was ground up and processed into feed as a source of calcium and protein. BSE can also occur as a random mutation and spontaniously appear in aproximately one out of every one million calves born.

    This practice has been disbanded and, in its simplest form, no animal feed or feed suppliment manufactured and sold in North America can contain ruminant by-products or meat, it all must come from non-cow/sheep sources. I’m not sure what the regulations are for Europe and the rest of the world.

    There is a huge kerfluffle every time someone from a slaughter house identifies a BSE positive cow and people panic. When a cow is tested positive for BSE that means that carcass is removed from the food chain and destroyed, usually by burning.

    The general procedure is this: when a cow is slaughtered the head is removed and tagged with a number as is the carcass. The brains are given a quick exam and any that show signs are pulled from the food lines (the beef you buy in the store is not fresh, it’s been aged for a few weeks – no, this does not mean it’s not safe to eat it just means that a lot of water has been removed, the meat is kept at very low temps) and the brains are sent out for a more complete exam. If the brain test positive, the carcass is removed and destroyed. If it’s clear then it can become human food or if too much time has passed, dog food. In previous years if the meat had entered the human food supply it would be recalled immediately but that has tightened up a lot and doesn’t happen any more, the meat is caught before it enters the supply.

    There are also a couple of quick-identification products on the market for immediate diagnosis but I’m not sure how wide spread their usage is. Think of them as the home pregnancy test versus a blood test from your doctor.

    A lot of Americans might be disgusted to know that for a long time it was accepted practice to butcher sick or “downer” (as in they were too sick to stand and were ‘down’) cattle into the human food chain. This is not as common in Canada due to different health regulations.

    In fact it was this acceptance of eating downer cattle that lead to the start of the lastest “Mad Cow Crisis” a few years ago. The gentleman(I believe he was from Louisiana) who own the cow here in northern Alberta that was discovered to have BSE tried to have her butchered for his family to eat. When the butcher refused due to her obvious illness and therefore being unfit for human consumption the farmer shipped her to a slaughter house who tested her, discovered she was positive and pulled her.

    In the insuing panic every cow that had ever come in contact with that farm or that cow (farmers are required to keep and maintain very accurate records of how they buy and sell cattle) was traced and checked. I know this because one of the cattle farmers who had the Deptartment of Health and the Department of Agriculture on is doorstep looking at his records and his cows was my boss’ brother.

    The panic cost cattle farmers tens of millions of dollars. My parents were selling a cattle feed suppliment (vitamins and minerals) and were moving over a quarter of a million dollars a year in product. After this all happened their business dropped to under one thousand dollars. The product was clean and safe but no one could afford to use it. There was no market for cattle and no money coming in.

    So, the next time you see some talking head on tv telling you about a case of BSE being discovered, you can bite into your burger knowing that particular cow did not make it anywhere near the human food chain.

    And now back to your regularly scheduled Argh Inc. Blog comments.

    *puts away soap box*

    Angie – Office Wench Cherry

  87. Angie: never meant to imply all beef was even close to contaminated. It’s just that IF people use feed that has sheep guts in it and IF that cow slips past and even IF it is fully cooked .. mad cow can get thru where other diseases cannot. Never feed an animal itself adn you won’t get this sort of thing. Canibles get it from eating fellow people. Yada Yada. Sounds like you are tired of the ‘scares’ the media drums up though. I whip out my soap box from time to time too. No problem.

  88. Kyra – I knew that wasn’t what you were implying. I was hoping to take the opportunity to share a little info and experience. BSE and CJD (the human varient) are horrible diseases and *everyone* needs to be on their guard about them. Anything that turns your brains to mush needs eradicating.

    I completely agree with the ban on
    the use of animals in meat animal foods, that’s the safest way to stop the spread in the food supply.

    There is so much misinformation out there that when people hear about one cow with BSE they don’t realize that there are tens of thousands being butchered and sold for meat every day that are healthy and perfectly safe to eat.

    I get frustrated (and I hope I didn’t seem bitchy, that wasn’t my intent)with the media because they make such a huge deal out of a BSE positive cow. I wanted to say that we should be glad when cows are found BSE positive and removed from the food supply. It’s like the cops arresting someone after he’s threatened to kill someone else but before he does it.


  89. not bitchy at all sweetie. I know when rant is good not mean. i’ve got several issues i get heated up about myself. but i do get bitchy. as posted before .. i feed my inner bitch cookies :0)

  90. kyra said “Of course, eating snake turns your hands orange I’ve heard :0)”

    and everyone always says it’s from cheetos. (which i haven’t had in awhile…hmmm) snake is much healthier. (right? is snake good for you?)

    Angie – Office Wench Cherry: that was really fascinating. get on your soap box any time.

  91. Angie: although there have certainly been brain diseases of the BSE type in many different animals for centuries, probably millennia, even (scrapie, as you said, has been known in sheep for centuries), do you accept that the form of spongiform brain disorder that appeared at almost epidemic levels in cattle in this country (the UK) in the 1980s is a mutated form that probably resulted directly from the unethical and unnatural practice of feeding animal protein to herbivores? In other words, that it is a man-made disease; human husbandry was the vector. When I was young, just after the 2nd World War, commercial cattle feed never contained any material of animal origin. The standard winter ‘cattle cake’ was made from linseed, and was fed alongside hay and vegetables such as kale when the cows were indoors in the winter months. Pigs were, indeed, fed some animal protein, usually in the form of ‘slops’ (which included leftovers from human meals), but then pigs, like ourselves, are omnivores, not herbivores, and are designed to digest some meat safely.

    Organ meat such as liver is much more commonly eaten in Europe than in the USA, and brain, specifically, is quite a common dish in Continental Europe and the Middle East, though not, as it happens in the UK. I have eaten sheep’s brains in my time. It is just as well brain is not commonly eaten in Britain, or we would probably have had far more cases of vCJD than we have had.

    I am interested to learn that there is now a quick method of diagnosis; I was under the impression that it is still impossible to diagnose spongiform brain diseases in a living sufferer, human or other; I thought that it was necessary to await an autopsy to be certain. Do you have more details? A 58-year-old man whom I knew slightly years ago (a person in my own profession) has just died of a degenerative brain disease, and I have been told that vCJD was a possibility, but they they would not know for certain till after his death.

  92. YEA!!! Mare is out the door.

    oh, tal, sorry to hear about your friend. well, guy you once knew.

  93. I’ve eaten squerrel, not the ground squerrels around here, but the tree climbing kind…tasted somewhat like dark meat chicken.

    Also eaten O’possum…very, very greasy…only had a taste, not for me.

    All this as a kid.

    Dandelion greens can be used as a salad or cooked like spinich with bacon bits.

    tzkvq blue

    take zis kindly, very quick

  94. agtigress said…
    Are beetroot usually eaten with vinegar in the US?

    That’s one way. “Harvard” beets is another, which is a sort of buttery, slightly sweet glaze on cooked beets. I love them baked and just eaten with butter. I’m surprised people think they have no flavor of their own. They’re very sweet. Maybe they’ve never had fresh-cooked, as opposed to canned.

    For garlic lovers, I make a beet salad with grated (huge grater holes) baked beets, sour cream, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a ton of chopped fresh garlic (and, of course, S&P). I can happily eat it for a meal, but it’s also great as part of a salad platter or served with cold baked chicken. Yummm.

    Chez said…
    Beetroot sucks. I especially hate when your hamburger comes with beetroot.

    Huh? Where are you from Chez? I’ve never seen such a combo. UK? Australia? I’m guessing, based on your calling it beetroot.

    And haven’t the CBs kinda taken over Jennie’s blog? Poor woman can’t escape us.

    xoqep (red)
    Xavier owes quite evil people.

  95. I like pickled beets…pickled with sugar, vinegar, and lots of spices…put them in salads or plain.

    fwhabziafrom what has already been zaid its arguable

  96. It’s a very Aussie thing to slather beetroot all over your hamburger. A lot of pubs and restaurants also seem to find beetroot essential on your plate with your salad. I’m with Chez, no matter how quick you are to get rid of the beetroot it stains everything pink……blah!


  97. Kylie, is this pickled beet or just cooked beet? I’m wondering if that’s the Aussie answer to dill pickles. ;+)))

  98. Zaza, your beetroot recipe with garlic sounds terrific. I must copy it out and try it some time.


  99. I hadn’t been keeping up with comments over here, but I can’t resist adding the the BSE discussion.

    Earlier this year, I read that there was some speculation that the recent mini-spate of mad cow/vCJD might be traced back to human CJD. Apparently, because of the market for feed-enrichment, such as bone meal, some thrifty soul began collecting bones out of the Ganges. Which is where the people of India dispose of their dead.

    The other curious issue is why, since I assume no one is feeding them cannibalistically (is that a word?), elk in the West are developing the similar Chronic Wasting Disease – in more numbers than one would think likely from spontaneous protein alteration.

    Lots of other interesting topics over here that I missed earlier!

    wpcwqq: weird protein configuration wastes quiet quaggi
    although, to the best of my knowledge, it doesn’t yet

  100. Diane’s verification: wpcwqq: weird protein configuration wastes quiet quaggi.

    (But the Quagga (surely Quaggas??) has, sadly, been extinct for more than a century, victim, not of being fed unsuitable fodder, but simply of being hunted by human ‘sportsmen’… 🙁 .. )

    I thought that Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease as originally described in human victims was not identical with the variant form (vCJD): it is only the latter which has only that form which is thought to be connected with the bovine disease. I may be mistaken, however. I suspect that precise diagnosis may have been done less often in the past, precisely because it does require an autopsy after death, and the long-known type was rare enough not to be seen as a threat.

    I had no idea that a related condition was affecting cervid (=deer) species. When you say ‘Elk in the West’, do you mean the species Cervus elaphus, and do you mean the west of North America or the Western Hemisphere? I haven’t heard of it in Scottish Red Deer (Red Deer is the BE name for what Americans call Elk, and Elk is the BE term for what Americans call Moose – Alces alces).

  101. Diane – I have just answered my own question by checking on the web, e.g. here:

    (UK Food Standards Agency).

    It seems that Chronic Wasting Disease is confined to North American deer at the moment, though there is concern about possible spread to Europe. No cases have been recorded in the UK, so for the moment, we may still eat venison safely. One hopes.

  102. Agtigress – I do agree that it’s probable that BSE as we know it now is a man-made disease. I think it’s totally unconscionable that for so long we fed herbivore parts to other herbivores. Also, the quick test is only after the animal is dead – someone will take a look at the brain for obvious signs of deterioration (and it can be very obvious in animals over 30 months) then send it on for a more exacting test. As with many of the messes we find ourselves in, we seem to have created this one.

    CWD in deer (Odocoileus virgininus and hemionus) also appears in populations that are under stress -too many animals overtaxing a small range seems to be a common stressor here. I’m not sure if it’s nature’s way of weeding out the weak or if it appears more previlant in large populations just because they are large and statistically have a greater number of infected animals. CWD is common in Saskatchewan (one province to the east of me) but not so much here. I think that overpopulation might also be to blame for its appearance in elk (Cervus elaphus )

    Whatever you call them moose, elk and deer are tasty. In fact, I have all three in my deep freeze at the moment. Yum.


  103. Thank you for that information, Angie. As you said in an earlier post, there is a lot of misunderstanding about these extremely serious matters, and any sound, factual information is very welcome. We have probably had more information on the suite of diseases in the UK than has been published in North America – but that doesn’t mean it has all been correct.

    Yes, I like venison too: we get ours usually from Scottish or Irish sources; these are semi-wild herds – not truly farmed, but certainly under a considerable degree of human control.

    It is now fairly certain that the colleague (not a close friend) I mentioned in an earlier post died (last Wednesday, aged 58) of CJD, but it seems uncertain as yet whether this was the ‘variant’ form or not.

  104. My bad. I didn’t investigate quagga, just operated on a vague memory of the word as some sort of hoofed mammal. And I have no idea why I chose that plural. I’ll plead the excuse of haste for my carelessness, I was on the way out the door.

    I think folk who value clarity are trying to induce us to substitute the word “wapiti” for NA “elk” (Cervus elaphus) to reduce the confusion. But, given the stubbornness of Americans (still using miles, pounds and gallons), we’ll have to see.

    High density does frequently lead to a variety of ill-outcomes for species, usually avoided in nature by predation. I wonder if the threat of vCJD to hunters might add a constituency to those who would like to permit the grey wolf to spread back over more of its natural range…

    Bizarrely, it is illegal to buy, sell or trade in deer species indigenous to the U.S., so despite the fact that there are probably more white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) than there were when Columbus arrived, venison purchased in the U.S. is farmed from imported species. The over-harvesting caused by market hunting led to the law, but the species having recovered to the extent that deer are an annoyance to gardeners, a hazard to motorists and a threat to the ecosystems they inhabit, perhaps this legislation could be revisited. But it probably won’t.

  105. Yes, the quagga was a zebra sub-species. 🙂

    Very interesting information, Diane. It does sound as though you should all be eating more of your native deer…

  106. I grew up eating venison as there are a number of hunters in the family and always someone had a few steaks to spare. But in the U.S. there’s also not a big enough market for it, I think. You have some specialized vendors but too many people getting an image of Bambi when you mention it. Venison was served at a formal dinner I went to about 2 years ago. The alternative menu was vegetarian and a lot of people went with that choice. The few who did try it were surprised to find it wasn’t at all what they expected. One person said it was a little like marinated beef which is not entirely accurate but probably as close a description as I’ve heard.

    Diane … wapiti? I don’t think it will catch on though its a much prettier, and exotic sounding, word. Folks who go to the Elks Club for a night out are not likely to make the switch.

  107. ‘Wapiti’ is a much better name, MCB. Because it is unfamiliar in other English dialects, one is driven to look it up, and then one finds it means some of the N.American sub-species of the worldwide Red Deer, Cervus elaphus. So after checking, we understand it correctly.

    As I explained above, one doesn’t even bother to look up ‘elk’, because we knows what it means – only unfortunately it means something different in American English and other Englishes. In British English and in other European languages (e.g. German Elche) the Elk is what you call a MOOSE – the scientific name is Alces alces.

    For years, I was fascinated when hunting lodges were mentioned in American novels with trophies of ‘elk antlers’ on the wall – of course I saw the palmate antlers of the moose, not the sharp tines of the red-deer antlers.

  108. MCB – I’m not sure how much of the disinclination towards venison is Bambi-related and how much is due to the fact that not all hunters and hunters’ wives are good cooks. My first experience of venison was a venison sausage produced by a neighbor. The universal reaction by my family (out of earshot of the neighbor, of course) was YUCK! But I tried some, years later at a restaurant (no doubt from a farm in New Zealand, as wild deer is not legal at restaurants, I gather), and enjoyed it very much.

    But one so rarely sees it that people are less likely to try it. Also, it’s seasonal, and, while there is a movement towards seasonal menus, it’s hard to see how it’ll stand up against the counter-movement of ever-increasing standardization (and decreasing variety, local flavor, etc.).

    It would never have occurred to me that there could be Moose (Alces alces) in Europe! They occur only in the most rural, Northerly places in the U.S., and, for some reason, they just look so American to me! Kind of homespun. Funny assumptions one makes…

    MCB – you’re probably right about the Elks’ Club, but in this “Bowling Alone” era, the question may be, um. Moot.

  109. I like the word much better as well. More poetic and certainly more fitting for a NA mammal to have a native american name. I just don’t see it being widely adopted any time soon. As Diane pointed out, we tend to be stubborn about these things. If we start referring to elk as wapiti, then we have to starting calling the moose an elk. And poor Bullwinkle is confused enough as it is.

  110. Diane: It would never have occurred to me that there could be Moose (Alces alces) in Europe!

    They are a slightly different sub-species, Diane, as one would expect, but the same animal. The European Elk is now extinct in central Europe, I think, but is still around in Scandinavia. I’ll try to find a link to Albrecht Dürer’s (1471-1528) engraving of a European Elk – nearly as famous as his portrait of a hare! Elk were living wild in Germany at that date. There was also a now long-extinct Giant Elk during prehistory – bones found in Ireland amongst other countries.

  111. I knew about the giant Irish elk (probably via Stephen J. Gould), but I never had seen the Dürer engraving; even if I had, I might not have made the connection. From the side, the characteristic palmate antler is not obvious to me.

    I’m off to go talk about how people interact with animals and how much respect we need to show other species – the continuum between “animal rights” and “who cares?”.

    I learned a lot today about cervids!

  112. I don’t think the palmate antlers are at all obvious there, but the dewlap, Roman nose and the proportions of back and legs are pretty characteristic. No other European cervid looks remotely like that, certainly not a Red Deer: to me, Elk look almost more bovine than cervine – and people use ‘bull, cow, calf’ rather than ‘stag, hind, fawn’ for them, don’t they?

  113. No, it doesn’t look deer-like, but it doesn’t scream “Moose!” either. I might have thought it was related, but not the same species. Yes, “bull, cow, calf” for Alces alces. I don’t know what is used for the wapiti,Cervus elaphus. But for our deer (Odocoileus virginianus), while we do say “fawn”, the males are “bucks” and the females “does”.

  114. Diane – knowing how to cook it does make a difference. When you are used to your meat coming shrink wrapped you don’t take the age of the animal into consideration either. Farming them would eliminate that need but first you need to get urban dwellers used to the idea.

    A moose in my mind is the ungainly creature with the face only a mother could love. If deer can be considered royal in appearance, then elk would be the local land baron (stately) and the moose the village idiot (large and strong but clumsy).

    Moot point … *snort* I think the Elks are still a pretty active in some areas and definitely a social organization (Tigress – if you are not familiar, the Benevolent Order of the Elks is a fraternity type organization, with local ‘lodges’ doing good works within the community) I always considered them a rural concept and was very surprised to find out that the organization was founded in New York originally. They were called the Jolly Corkers although I don’t remember why. Too much benevolence at the meetings maybe?

  115. MCB: not that I know anything about them, but I think it’s the Benevolent and PROTECTIVE Order of the Elks (just ’cause one does see BPOE on signs in small downtowns).

    AgTigress: did British men set up groups such as this, in which they (at least nominally) did good works, but also had lodges (actual buildings owned by the group) to get away from the women-folk? With secret ceremonies and peculiar headgear? We also have the Lions Club besides, of course, the Masons, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and I-don’t-know-what-all. The Elks were founded in 1868, and have probably been losing membership since 1968, though, as MCB says, some lodges are still active.

  116. You’re right, Diane. I missed a word, there. You’re right too that its a tradition that kinda dying out. Lions Club … I had forgotten about them. The Masons of course are international – and older than dirt. The organization, not the members. As far as I know.

  117. Ooh! Maybe that’s one of their secrets! They move members around internationally, so no one knows they’ve discovered immortality.

    I have a friend who is younger than I who is a whatever-the-ladies’-auxilliary-for-Lions-is (Lioness? hmm). Her dad was/ is a Lion and she got her husband to join. So, there’s at least one member under 40. But most fraternal orgs. are dwindling, I believe.

  118. Diane, we, too, use ‘buck’ and doe’ for the smaller deer species, such as Roe Deer and Fallow Deer (the species you mention are American, and I don’t have the species names of our smaller species to hand), but the Red Deer males and females are stags and hinds. Don’t you use the word ‘stag’ in AE, then?

  119. To the best of my knowledge, the only common use of the term “stag” is for going to a dance without a date. And brands of clothing (White Stag). Perhaps the word is used for wapiti, but I haven’t heard it.

    We’ve stopped using a lot of pretty good words, I’m afraid. Also, we appear to have fewer deer species – I’m only aware of two, the so-called White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus ) and O. hemionus , the mule deer (so-called due to big ears), which are, apparently 3-3.5 feet at the shoulder (about 1 m, I suppose!), weighing 125-330 lb (a pretty wide range). Mule deer are found in the West, while the white-tailed deer is in virtually all of N. America, except some of the West. They’re similar in size to the Mule deer, but perhaps slightly towards the larger end of the range (at least, that’s my impression). I don’t know how this compares to Roe or Fallow Deer, but perhaps that’s why we use the terminology.

  120. I am away from home and my reference books. Roe deer are very small, and native to the British Isles (as are Red Deer). Fallow deer are a bit bigger, and were probably not introduced till a couple of thousand years ago. I can give you species names and sizes when I get home.

  121. Diane said… Ooh! Maybe that’s one of their secrets! They move members around internationally, so no one knows they’ve discovered immortality.

    No, no, dear–that’s the Rosicrucians. “What Strange Secret Do These Men Possess?”

    iusrs–everyone on the Internet

  122. this stuff is really fascinating. thanks.

    diane said “Bizarrely, it is illegal to buy, sell or trade in deer species indigenous to the U.S.”

    i was wondering then about places that still hunt deer in the U.S. does this mean if they shoot a deer they can eat it or give it away, but aren’t allowed to sell, buy, or trade it? or does it mean technically it’s an illegal practice but people look the other way? just wondering. i know there are places that shoot deer, but maybe the deer aren’t considered “indigenous”. or because they don’t sell the deer….anyways, hope one of you can answer my question.

  123. Here’s a link to a gov’t page on hunting rules in Idaho (USA).

    I have friends who hunt & yes, you can give the meat away, but not sell it. You cannot just take the antler and leave the carcass (wasting the meat). You cannot buy a tag and give it to someone to hunt for you. Etc. Lots of rules.

    Not being a hunter myself (and a city girl now out in the wilds of eastern Washington state) I know very little about hunting but I do like venison and elk. And am considering asking friends to take me hunting with them so I can learn.

    I’ve had fresh rabbit out of my own garden, but I won’t eat the squirrels. They look too much like rats with furry tails.

  124. My impression of squirrel is that there would be WAY too much skinning for not nearly enough meat – for those of us who have the luxury of doing otherwise.

    OH – I’m sure a certain amount of barter goes on: some of my deer for your pecans and pomegranates (or home-fermented wine, or whatever), but there’s no denying that our early 20th century laws sound pretty strange in the 21st.

    Lulu: a rabbit you raised, or one that was eating your lettuces uninvited? (Just out of curiosity).

  125. Lulu–

    Was the rabbit wearing a little blue jacket?

    Was his name “Peter”?

    Is your married name MacGregor?

    yzutnoz — Yelling, Zaza urged Talpianna “Not on (the) zinnias!”

    yeyblian — The Japanese cheer for Bryan.

  126. Talpianna – I have HEARD of the Rosicrucians (I even went to a museum when I was a kid), and I vaguely connect them with gnosticism and alchemy. Probably because of a Barbara Michaels book. But, other than that, I’m pretty clueless about them. Are there other cultural references about which I should be aware?

    lsqurued: spanglish for “really in trouble”

  127. The regs for hunting are in place for a fairly good reason, if you think about it. Meat sold in the U.S. has to pass USDA inspection requirements which would be a little tricky out there in the wilds. And the other regs are in place to keep to a minimum those people who just want to go shoot something, as opposed to most sport hunters who are pretty conscientious.

  128. The Rosicrucians played a major role in Umberto Eco’s FOUCAULT’S PENDULUM. I also saw some stuff about them in a TV documentary dealing with Dan Brown’s ANGELS AND DEMONS, so they presumably played a part in that book (confused with the Freemasons, IIRC). They are supposed to have played a role in the various liberal revolutions of 1848, especially in the more violent ones.

    nyaggglm — a sneer at Glamour-Geek’s glamour

  129. Huh. I read Foucault’s Pendulum, but remember very little about it, except that there were two words I had to look up – on the first page! Very rare for me. I also read Angels and Demons, which didn’t stick any better (and I wouldn’t believe much that HE said, anyway – lots of sloppy stuff in The Da Vinci Code). I may have to try Eco again.

  130. If I were to say holy moley, I would be referring to this entire document!
    Holy moley!

    There’s a town in Wyoming called Wapiti.


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