Saturday, 17 January 2009


A mixture or miscellany.

Though this is now used mainly in a figurative sense, it was first attached in English to a dish of chopped meat, anchovies and eggs, garnished with onions, lemon juice, oil and other condiments. A right dog’s breakfast, in fact. We know that the word came to us in the seventeenth century from the French salmigondis, of which older spellings in that language were salmiguondin and salmingondin. Here the line of linguistic footprints ceases, and we must cast about to pick up the trail again. One theory is that it was a dish first prepared for the French king Henri IV (or Henri VI in another version) by a nobleman’s wife, after whom it was named. Another, more prosaic but more plausible, is that it derives from the Italian phrase salame conditi, “pickled meat”. Yet another says it comes from the French salemine, “salted food” and condir, “to season”. In English the name was corrupted to Solomon-gundy in the eighteenth century, and it’s probable that it’s related to the name in the children’s rhyme: “Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, took ill on Thursday, worse on Friday, died on Saturday, buried on Sunday, that is the end of Solomon Grundy”, which was first set down by James Orchard Halliwell in 1842.


The above is from a web page. But the word is now used more often in its figurative sense.

(Anne Read of St. James’s, Cambridge first introduced me to this meaning.)

So here is my SALMAGUNDI for today.

1. I am a people pleasing wimp. The Men’s Fellowship at All Angels Church on Longboat Key invited me (at short notice) to be their guest speaker on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.
I should have refused the invitation so that I could watch the inauguration of Barack Obama as President, live on T.V. at Noon that day.

But the people pleaser in me prevailed. I said “yes” to their invitation.

2. I am becoming a Face book addict. I check it three or four times a day. But the “six degrees of separation” rule works very well on Face book, and I have been able to contact not a few old friends.

3. Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of FDR and Eleanor has written a lovely memoir of his upbringing in the White House. It is called “Too Close To The Sun”

I know Curtis and have stayed with him and his wife in France where they live. So I bought the book, and mailed the dust cover to Curtis, asking for his autograph. He returned the dust jacket by mail – it arrived today – with a most generous inscription: “To my good friend Michael Povey”.

So not only am I a people pleasing wimp. I am also a name dropper!

4. I have to take my cat Ada to the vet on Tuesday for some booster shots.

The letter from the vet says (quote) :

"Please bring a fecal sample to test for worms.
All pets over 7 years of age should also bring a urine sample!"

I wonder. (a) Why does the vet need my fecal sample? and (b) How do I persuade Ada to bring a urine sample.

I am a people pleasing wimp and a name dropper. I am also silly.

5 I saw a bumper sticker on a car in my neighbourhood this afternoon. It read “CHRIST CHANGED MY LIFE”. I wanted to ask the owner “for better, or for worse?”

“People pleasing, name dropping, silly - and also cynical”

SALAMAGUNDI to you too!

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