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Five questions about quirky culinary terms – Quick Quiz answers

This month’s quiz was based on some of the quirkier content on our new website, : the language of food and drink – explained! It’s a cross between a glossary and an encyclopedia of food and drink. It has cartoons, photos and illustrations in it and some contents which might make you think, “Well, I never…”.

We asked you five questions about the culinary meaning of various words. Here come the answers!

What is [a/an] ……… and what is its culinary meaning?

  1. The word gallimaufry originated from the French ‘galimaufrée’ meaning a meat stew. The word was adopted in English to mean any kind of hotchpotch, potpourri, or jumble of things. In culinary terms these days it can be used to describe any ragout of mixed meat and/or vegetables.
  2. Maids of honour are small almond-flavoured custard tarts, traditionally made with a lemon curd and cream cheese filling. It’s said that Anne Boleyn invented them whilst she was lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, and that Henry VIII liked them so much he named them maids of honour after the Queen’s unmarried attendants.
  3. The original use of the word marmite was for a French two-handled earthenware or metal cooking pot, used for makings soups and stews. It’s thought that the term was derived from the old French word for ‘hypocrite’ – the idea being that the pot was a hypocrite because it concealed its contents.Later in Britain the word was used for a proprietary brand of a spread made from yeast extract, a by-product of the beer brewing industry.
  4. Aiguillette is French and the word literally means ‘little needle’. In culinary terms it refers to a long, thin sliver of the choicest, most tender meat from either side of the breastbone of a duck or other fowl. It’s sometimes used to describe any thin strip of meat taken from a premium cut, such as from the rump or flank.The term is also used to denote certain sartorial ornamentation, especially on military uniforms.
  5. Lamb’s wool is a traditional English drink which was popular from the 16th to the 19th centuries. It consisted of beer which was heated, sweetened and spiced. Then the soft, fluffy pulp of baked apples was mixed in – presumably leading to the drink being so named.Samuel Pepys mentioned the drink in his diary on 9 November 1666:

    “Being come home, we to Cards until two in the morning; and drinking lamb’s wool, to bed.”

Bonus question

The word ‘lasagna’ is originally from the Greek word for ‘chamber pot’. The Romans then borrowed the word applying it as ‘cooking pot’. Perhaps you had to be there to get the joke. Later, the Italians adapted the word to mean a particular dish cooked in such a pot, and that is what we now know as lasagne.

It consists of flat sheets of pasta layered with béchamel sauce and a meat and tomato sauce, and topped with Parmesan cheese.

The answers above and much, much more are on Please do have a look around. And, by the way, if you want to visit Scoffopedia later for any other reason, you can just type in and that will redirect you. This could come in useful, especially for mobile devices, if you’re flummoxed by a restaurant menu and don’t want to ask the waiter.

How did you get on? Why not let us know?

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