Thursday, 17 December 2009

Day seventeen....

Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend

Cheese on toast. Queso en tostada. Fromage sur le pain. Kase auf brot. сыр на хлебе. Whichever way put it is a classic combination. Be it a sharp cheddar, a nutty Jarlsberg or even a creamy chevre its something that just is. So how come the welsh are accredited the name. Well it is actually an insult. Even in 1725 they knew what irony was and could cut a nation down with it. The poor in England were associated with rabbit and the notoriously poor Welsh had cheese. Some believe this was the beginning. However Francis Grose thought otherwise and believed that rabbit was a corruption of rarebit and the public ate this up, like the Welsh did crumbs of cheese.

"A dictionary of buckish slang, university wit and pickpocket eloquence"

Many words used today originate from this publishing. Ginger people will not be big fans as this is the first noted use of the slang for them as carrots. Other gems include an apple dumpling shop, which is a Lady's bosom. And not forgetting the classic bum fodder or shit tickets as 21st century equivalent supplies. Grose would go on midnight walks through London's notorious drinking dens and add interesting slang to his "knowledge box". A tough life he lived but someone had to do it and I couldn't but maybe I'm just being "mealy-mouthed".

One of the only other uses of the word rarebit was in this comic strip made by Windsor McCay. A surreal comic that resolved itself by the protagonist Rarebit Fiend waking up and blaming his actions on a nightmare induced by cheese. Don't get me started McCay!!! (ref day 12)

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