Food: A Dictionary of Literal and Nonliteral Terms

By Robert A. Palmatier | Go to book overview

C

CABBAGE

Money; folding money. HDAS: 1903. Source: CABBAGE. MWCD: 15th cent. Cabbage leaves range in color from green to white or red, and the green leaves range in shade from dark green to light or pale green. The latter shade just happens to match the color of American paper money, or “greenbacks,” which, along with the long, thin, flat appearance of both the leaves and the bills has inspired the development of the metaphor cabbage for “folding money.” Cabbage itself is the product of a reverse metaphor, based on the resemblance of a cabbage “head” (M.E. caboche) to a human head (Lat. caput), a similarity that was overlooked in the naming of the “head” of lettuce (q.v.). The association of cabbage with head can be found in such metaphorical expressions as the phrase to come to a head “to reach the peak of development” (EWPO: 16th cent.), the compound noun cabbagehead “a stupid person” (LA: 1682), and the proverb Two heads are better than one (HND: 1546), to which is sometimes added even if one is a cabbage head. Cabbage can be prepared hot, as cabbage soup or collard greens, or cold, as sauerkraut or cole slaw. Sauerkraut (Ger. for “sour cabbage”) is shredded white cabbage fermented in a salt brine made of its own juice. It has been known in England since the early-17th cent. (MWCD: 1617) but in America only since the Revolution, although it has become a necessary condiment for hot dogs in many parts of the country since the turn of the 19th cent. During WWI, the term liberty cabbage was substituted for sauerkraut by Americans who reserved the word Kraut for Germans in general. Cole slaw (MWCD: 1794), an Amer. loan translation from Du. koolsla “cabbage salad,” denotes chopped white cabbage with shredded carrots and mayonnaise (or vinegar). Some Americans erroneously refer to cole slaw as cold slaw, although it is sometimes served warm or hot. Skunk cabbage (MWCD: 1751) is not cabbage at all but a swamp plant with leaves that resemble those of the cabbage—and a smell that resembles that of a skunk. Brussels sprouts (MWCD:

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Food: A Dictionary of Literal and Nonliteral Terms
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations and Symbols xiii
  • A 1
  • B 13
  • C 47
  • D 95
  • E 110
  • F 123
  • G 148
  • H 166
  • I 187
  • J 196
  • K 201
  • L 207
  • M 224
  • N 249
  • O 256
  • P 264
  • Q 296
  • R 297
  • S 307
  • T 356
  • U 378
  • V 380
  • W 384
  • Y 394
  • Z 399
  • About the Author 463
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