Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Measure Once, Bake Twice

I sauntered into the kitchen one day last week and discovered that my wife was preparing a pie. She had already baked a pie shell, intending to make a chocolate truffle pie, but changed her mind after watching a cooking show on cable. Now it was to be a caramel apple pie. I asked if baking the shell twice was going to cause a problem, but she explained that it wouldn’t be in the oven that long.

The phrase twice-baked leapt into my mind, and that triggered the word biscuit, a question that had arisen on the show last year. Biscuit ultimately comes from two Latin words meaning (a dough product) baked twice. The instructions on the Pillsbury label call for a single turn in the oven, but it seems that the original biscuit was literally baked twice.

That, of course, led me to biscotto, an Italian word for a crisp biscuit. This treat is a long, thin, hard biscuit. It is usually served with a hot drink, into which it is dipped.

My wife then reminded me of ricotta. The word parts in ricotta mean “cooked again.” Ricotta uses the whey left over during cheese production. Cheese is heated during its production, and then the separated whey is heated again to produce ricotta.

Be still, my dicrotic pulse.

SIDEBAR: If you live in the GT region and are over 50, get a team of 3 together for this year's Senior Spelling Bee. Practice rounds at TADL Wed. April 25 & Thurs. April 26 at noon. Main event Friday, May 4th, 1 p.m., at the Gilbert Lodge on Twin Lakes. Call the TC Senior Center for details at 231-922-4911.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Check out Mike's program-based books here:

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now.

There is a collection of podcasts. Go to and click on Podcasts. Scroll down The Ron Jolly Show to find the Words to the Wise audio button.

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