Re: OT: Salad Days, was Re: Borrowing Wordlist
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, October 21, 2004, 4:46|
----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Dee" <AmateurLinguist@...>
> In a message dated 10/20/2004 11:32:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> scaves@FRONTIERNET.NET writes:
>>> Salad days? I've seen this expression a few times before on the list.
>>> What does
>>> it mean? How did it originate?
>>I may be wrong, and I'm going entirely on feeble memory, but I think it's
>>from Shakespeare, and specifically from Antony and Cleopatra, a comment
>>Cleopatra utters. Or, it may be from Troilus and Cressida, and a comment
>>Cressida utters. The idea is that you eat the salad first in a course of
>>meals for dinner that hasn't changed since medieval times. Salad, soup,
>>entree, second entree, dessert.
> The reference is to Antony & Cleopatra, Act I Scene v line 73.
> Cleopatra says "My salad days, when I was green in judgement, cold in
> to say as I said then!"
> I have my doubts about the explanation that the salad course comes
> first -- I
> seem to recall reading somewhere that in the 19th century, salads did not
> come first; so, the salad-first custom may not be old enough.
Yes, but they may have come first in the middle ages. Nineteenth-century
custom may mark a departure from, not a beginning of a custom. In Europe
the salad often comes last. But I have a number of medieval cookbooks that
put soups and salads first.
However, seeing the whole line, I suspect it means that a salad is made from
the immature leaves of a plant. Interestingly, it means something that has
been salted, and served cold.
> Fowler's Modern English Usage (2nd ed.) observes "whether the point is
> youth, like salad, is green and raw, or that salad is highly flavoured and
> youth loves high flavors, or that innocent herbs are youth's food as milk
> babes' and meat is men's, few of those who use the phrase could perhaps
> tell us."