Timothy was telling me
of his plans for St. Patrick’s Day, and they included a traditional corned beef
and cabbage dinner. He wondered about
the origin of corned, since no corn is apparent in the dish.
Corned beef is preserved
or cured with salt. The basis is a common Germanic and Scandinavian word that
meant a worn-down particle. The shape and size were the important elements, not
the substance itself. You could have
grains or corns of sand, salt, pepper, gunpowder, coffee, wheat, rye, barley,
and so on. The word kernel is connected.
The word cabbage has at
its core the concept of a head, and it is Anglo-Norman in origin. The genus
into which it falls is Brassica, a Latin word for cabbage and allied plants.
The adjective form is brassicacious.
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