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Author Topic: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '  (Read 6322 times)

Offline neilep

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Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« on: 24/12/2005 15:05:38 »
It's Chrimbo Eve and my mind is filled with what my tummy will be filled with tomorrow and I'm already reaching for my Christmas Bucket !!

..but what I want to know is this..

Chicken is Chicken
Lamb is Lamb
Turkey is Turkey


Why do we call Cow 'Beef' and Pig 'Pork' ?..

...we have Lamb Chops, Lamb Shank, Lamb Shoulder etc etc... so why not Cow Steak, Cow Chops...Pig Ribs etc ?

I just won't be able to celebrate the end of this year unless I find a resolution to this edible non vegi quandry.

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!


 

Offline Solvay_1927

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #1 on: 24/12/2005 17:14:06 »
Good question.  Don't know the answer.

But the same goes for sheep - if you make a stew from the meat of an older sheep (rather than a lamb), it's not called "sheep" stew, it's called "mutton stew".

And why are mince pies called that? And why are they filled with "mincemeat"? They don't have anything to do with meat.

And why do we call turkey that anyway? The bird doesn't even originate from Turkey.

In Turkey (the country) they don't call it (the bird/meat) "turkey", they call it "hindi" (as in "from India" - just like the French, who call in "dinde").

And in Portugal, the word for turkey (the bird) is "peru". Weird. (But, then again, Portuguese is a strange language anyway - if you see a sign on a door saying "puxe", pronounced "push", it actually means "pull".)

And ... what was the question again?[:o)]
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #2 on: 24/12/2005 19:27:29 »
Well there you go, I'm glad I have support from such a deferentrial and cognizant peer. I too agree about Mince Pies....which I hate !!..Yukkk !!



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another_someone

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #3 on: 24/12/2005 20:04:53 »
Very easy answer the Anglo Saxon speaking serfs raised the animal on the farm so that it could be slaughtered and eaten by the Norman French speaking squires.

Beef is from the French (it's what the Norman French ate) and cow is from the Anglo Saxon (what the serfs raised in the fields).

Turkey is a recent import, so would not have been influenced by this division.

Lamb may be lamb, but sheep is mutton.

Pork is pig, although I would have thought it used to be swine.

You also have dear and venison.

Not sure about chicken.  The word chicken is Germanic, not French origin maybe the squires didn't eat it, leaving it for the serfs to consume themselves?

Lamb is also from the Germanic (apparently related to the word Elk).  I can only imagine that the squires did not concern themselves with the small fry (the chickens and the lambs).
« Last Edit: 24/12/2005 20:28:39 by another_someone »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #4 on: 24/12/2005 21:50:11 »
Thank you another_someone

Now I know who to direct all my zoological orientated nomenclaturial queries towards.

Many Thanks



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another_someone

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #5 on: 24/12/2005 22:50:46 »
quote:
Originally posted by Solvay_1927
And why are mince pies called that? And why are they filled with "mincemeat"? They don't have anything to do with meat.



Not sure, but I remember hearing different versions of why this might be.

One version goes that they actually used to be filled with meat, but later became a veggie (fruity) pie.

Another version is that the word meat has often been used as a generic term for food (in the same way that the line in the Lord's prayer about 'Give us our daily bread' is not intended to literally refer to an oven backed cereal loaf).

quote:

And why do we call turkey that anyway? The bird doesn't even originate from Turkey.



According to Eric Partridge's 'Origins', the bird came into Europe from Africa via Turkey, hence its name (a bit analogous to why we call a tribe from India: Gypsys, and their language Romany, even though they neither originated from Egypt, nor from Byzantium, but transited through both).

quote:


But, then again, Portuguese is a strange language anyway - if you see a sign on a door saying "puxe", pronounced "push", it actually means "pull".




Don't know much about  Portuguese, but it is not uncommon in languages for words with opposite meaning to have a common root, and even for the meaning of the word to be reversed within the language (just look at words like awful, witty, with, again, deck, wicked, glamour, or bewitching).  In a sense, this is very logical, because for two things to be opposite they must be almost identical (I'll let you work out what I mean by that :)).
« Last Edit: 24/12/2005 22:51:44 by another_someone »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #6 on: 25/12/2005 10:13:54 »
quote:
...for two things to be opposite they must be almost identical


Things must have similarities or they cannot be compared. If they cannot be compared, they cannot be opposites. Take "up" and "down", for instance. Whilst they are antonyms, they both express location or direction. Totally disimilar things such as "up" and "placid" cannot be compared in any way whatsoever (except, maybe, in the mind of someone like Spike Milligan!)
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #7 on: 25/12/2005 10:32:38 »
quote:
According to Eric Partridge's 'Origins', the bird came into Europe from Africa via Turkey


Damned clever birds, then. How did they get from the Americas to Africa?

The word "turkey" was originally applied to the guinea fowl, which is the bird that came from Africa via Turkey. When the British began colonising the Americas in the 16th century they named the bird they found there a turkey as it resembled the guinea fowl.
The 1st turkeys - as in what we now know as turkeys - were, in fact, brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century.
Historically, eating turkey for Christmas dinner in the UK is a fairly recent thing. Americans who were posted here during WWII wanted the birds for their Thanksgiving dinner and they were then adopted by the British for Christmas. Prior to that the traditional Christmas fare was goose (hence the rhyme - Christmas is a-coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat)
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #8 on: 25/12/2005 10:40:43 »
The French words "poule" and "poulette" (poulette being a diminutive form) are related to the Italian "pollo". These have come into English as the word "pullet", a small chicken.
The root for all of these is the Latin "pullus", meaning "small fowl" or  its feminine equivalent "pulla"
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #9 on: 25/12/2005 10:47:25 »
Mincemeat is a term that originated in the 17th century. Prior to that, it was known as forcemeat. There are 2 trains of thought as to the origins of that. 1st, "force" as in to stuff (a variant of "farce"), 2nd) that it is derived from "falsemeat".
Whatever the actual derivation, "force" and "mince" had similar meanings in the 17th & 18th centuries and gradually "forcemeat" was replaced by "mincemeat".

 
quote:
Another version is that the word meat has often been used as a generic term for food (in the same way that the line in the Lord's prayer about 'Give us our daily bread' is not intended to literally refer to an oven backed cereal loaf).


Correct. It's from the Old English "mete" which just meant "foodstuff"

As an afterthought, pay no heed to anything you may hear about it coming from "Minsk myat" - "food from Minsk" - coz that's rubbish.
« Last Edit: 25/12/2005 10:57:37 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #10 on: 25/12/2005 10:52:57 »
Lamb is indeed a Germanic word coming from "Lamp" (Medieval High German) and the Old German "Lamm" whereas "mutton" is from the French "mouton".
Incidentally, the term "mutt" for a dog comes from "mutton-eating dog" & "lace mutton" is an Old English term for a whore.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #11 on: 25/12/2005 11:04:06 »
Don't get me started on etymology or I'll be here all day! [:p]
 

another_someone

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #12 on: 25/12/2005 14:34:36 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

quote:
...for two things to be opposite they must be almost identical


Things must have similarities or they cannot be compared. If they cannot be compared, they cannot be opposites. Take "up" and "down", for instance. Whilst they are antonyms, they both express location or direction. Totally disimilar things such as "up" and "placid" cannot be compared in any way whatsoever (except, maybe, in the mind of someone like Spike Milligan!)



Yep.

In fact, I would go a little further.  Since the notion of 'opposite' is a one dimensional comparison, so it follows that the items you are comparing (if they are true opposites) must be identical in all respects except one, and only in that one respect do they occupy opposite extremes.  Clearly, in the real world, one allows for approximations, and can still regard things as opposite even if one does so by disregarding some other minor differences.
 

another_someone

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #13 on: 25/12/2005 14:40:07 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

Damned clever birds, then. How did they get from the Americas to Africa?

The word "turkey" was originally applied to the guinea fowl, which is the bird that came from Africa via Turkey. When the British began colonising the Americas in the 16th century they named the bird they found there a turkey as it resembled the guinea fowl.
The 1st turkeys - as in what we now know as turkeys - were, in fact, brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century.



I was quoting Eric Partridge,  but I had previously thought myself that the birds had originated from the Americas.   I was going to try and check that anomaly myself some time today, but you beat me to it.

Clearly, Eric Partridge knew his etymology, but not his zoology or history.

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #14 on: 25/12/2005 15:01:05 »
Eric Partridge should have stayed in his pear tree - A-HA!
 

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #15 on: 25/12/2005 15:04:02 »
quote:
In fact, I would go a little further. Since the notion of 'opposite' is a one dimensional comparison, so it follows that the items you are comparing (if they are true opposites) must be identical in all respects except one, and only in that one respect do they occupy opposite extremes. Clearly, in the real world, one allows for approximations, and can still regard things as opposite even if one does so by disregarding some other minor differences.


Veritably
 

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Re: Why is ' Beef ' not ' Cow '
« Reply #15 on: 25/12/2005 15:04:02 »

 

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