Cover image for Eat your words : a fascinating look at the language of food
Eat your words : a fascinating look at the language of food
Jones, Charlotte Foltz.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Delacorte Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
87 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Discusses the history and meaning of all kinds of food-related words and phrases and describes customs and beliefs about various foods.
General Note:
On t.p. "eat your words" appears as different types of foods.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX349 .J66 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
TX349 .J66 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Baked Alaska, melba toast, hush puppies, and coconuts. You'd be surprised at how these food names came to be. And have you ever wondered why we use the expression "selling like hotcakes"? Or how about "spill the beans"? There are many fascinating and funny stories about the language of food--and the food hidden in our language! Charlotte Foltz Jones has compiled a feast of her favorite anecdotes, and John O'Brien's delightfully pun-filled drawings provide the dessert. Bon appetit!

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. In this amusing exploration of food-related words and phrases, the author of Mistakes That Worked (1991) once again takes advantage of children's delight in finding the quirky in the common. Careful to distinguish between fact, legend, and speculation, Jones explains the derivations of a hodgepodge of expressions (couch potato, eat humble pie), food names (Buffalo wings, sandwich), and introduces some just-for-fun food-related trivia--including a roundup of goofy laws and a chronology of candy bars. One of the most interesting chapters is a sort of reversal. It showcases words that were associated with food or cooking but have evolved into something different--precocious, for example, comes from a word meaning "to cook beforehand." John O'Brien's sophisticated cartoon illustrations are a nice touch. Fun as well as an intriguing lesson in the way language evolves and changes. --Stephanie Zvirin

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-After an introduction to the importance of food in our culture, Jones takes readers on a tour of gastronomical words and phrases. The first three chapters describe dishes with people's names (eggs Benedict), those named after places (Buffalo wings), and "Four-Legged Foods" that contain the names of animals (horseradish). "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry" looks at the etymology behind treats associated with parties and fun (canap‚s), while "What's in That Shopping Cart" does the same for a random sampling of groceries (eggplant, marmalade, po' boys). Phrases such as "couch potato" and "eat humble pie" are described in a chapter on favorite sayings. Jones also examines words that don't seem to deal with eating at all, but have food hidden in their histories (parasite comes from parasitos, Greek for "guests at a meal"). "Food for Thought" sections present fascinating trivia ranging from silly laws about edibles to food-related rituals. Appropriately, the author finishes with a history of the toothpick. The layout and accessible writing style make this book easy to understand and interesting to read. It is filled with anecdotes and amusing illustrations. This is a great title for browsing, and youngsters will want to share these stories with their friends.-Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.