The peculiar history of Ketchup…..

  It appears that the ubiquitous bottle of ketchup is not quite so modern as we thought. The word ketchup comes from the Chinese dialect Hokkien, Ke-tsiap, the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish. Now popularly known as “ketchup” or “catsup”. The sauce was appealing to the traders …

Why do we call a turkey, a turkey?….

  It seems that we can blame the Portuguese for this. Following Vasco da Gama`s voyage around Africa, by the 16th century they were without doubt one of the leading traders along the Americas. Anxious to preserve their monopoly on certain goods the Portuguese were somewhat vague as to where …

How decolletage morphed into cleavage….

  Let us look at cleavage first. The word itself is a worry – it can mean rending things into separate parts, and also exactly the opposite when referring to things which cling together. In terms of low-cut necklines it somehow covers both possibilities: garments cut to show objects that are actually separate but …

Bringing home the bacon……

  When somebody “Brings Home The Bacon” they have achieved something notable, or won a prize or award. There are two possible explanations for this phrase. The first is an ancient game, popular at country fairs up and down the land. Men would chase a heavily greased pig around a …

It`s in the bag!….

  In The Bag is a phrase used to describe something of an absolute certain outcome. Since the beginning of the English Parliament, tradition has it that all petitions brought before the House of Commons, which had a successful outcome, would be placed by the Speaker in a large velvet …

Murder by fly-paper……….

      In the spring of 1909, Miss Eliza Barrow, a well-to-do 49 year old spinster, moved into the four room top floor flat at 63 Tollington Park in Finchley Green, London. Her landlord Frederick Seddon occupied the ground floor with his wife Maggie, five children and elderly father. …

Riddle me this….

  The Anglo-Saxons delighted in the following riddle: I am a wonderful creature, bringing joy to women, and useful to those who dwell near me. I harm no citizen except only my destroyer. My site is lofty; I stand in a bed; beneath, somewhere, I am shaggy. Sometimes the very …

Temet nosce……..

  “Temet nosce,” the Latin translation of the Greek phrase “gnothi seauton,” which was engraved in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, dates back to the fourth century. It translates as “know yourself ” and carries with it the idea that you must first understand yourself before …