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Words for Dinner?   Leave a comment

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Eat Your Words by Charlotte Foltz Jones (and illustrated by John O’Brien) is an entertaining look at the evolution of idioms associated with food. Although written as a children’s book, this should appeal to anyone with an interest in sustenance and words. It has nothing to do with nutrition and diets.

Foltz’s conversational, easy-to-read history of food and the language associated with it is immediately engaging because of its emphasis on fun. She shares how certain dishes or snacks came to exist. I suspect we all know about sandwiches and their debt to the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, but new to me, at least, is Sylvester Graham and his role in the cracker that bears his name.

Fun, often obscure, facts related to food are shared, including a section on what Foltz justifiably identifies as “silly food laws.” Who knew that in Lexington, Ky., for example, that “it is against the law to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket”? Of course, the larger question is who would want to? Food-related events are also listed, including the Berrien Springs, Mich., annual Christmas Pickle Festival. This suggests mistletoe isn’t the only reason to pucker up.

The book is written in an amusing tone, but it also contains interesting facts associated with the foods we consume every day. Get the book for a kid, but be sure to read it, too.

Eat Your Words
Four Bookmarks
Delacorte Press, 1999
85 pages including bibliography

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