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<   No. 1767   2007-11-28   >

Comic #1767

1 Long Tom: What be ye lickin' yer chops for, Dirque?
2 Dirque: Beggin' yer pardon, cap'n, but mashed tatties 'n' bearnaise sauce be soundin' a fair sight better'n biscuits 'n' salt pork.
3 Long Tom: Arrr! They be eatin' us, not feedin' us, ye dolt!
4 Dirque: Mmmm... but what a way to be goin'...

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Like all good supporting character antagonists, the natives are obliging enough to wait while the main characters have an extended conversation in front of them.

And for a good discussion, you could do worse than the topic of biscuits. "Biscuit" is a word well known to those who have experience with the vagaries of British and American English usage, being one of the most notorious causes of misunderstanding between members of those cultures. I won't go into the details here - read the Wikipedia article for the full lowdown if you're not already aware of it.

The other interesting thing about "biscuit" is the etymology, from the Latin, and meaning "twice baked". Most biscuits (of either cultural variation) are not twice baked these days, but the meaning lingers in the traditional Italian biscotti (an even more direct descendant of the Latin term). Biscotti are indeed baked twice in order to achieve their distinctive traditional texture and crispness. (For those interested in this sort of thing, the "bis" part means "twice", being from the same root as words such as "bicycle" and "bifocals", while the "cotti" part (or "cotta" in the non-plural form) is the bit that means baked, and can also be found in words such as "pannacotta" (baked cream) and "terracotta" (baked earth). Languages really are cool when you discover these sorts of connections between them.)

And that's not all. German has zwieback, another variation on the theme, whose derivation is from the German "zweimal gebackenes" - meaning, wait for it: "twice baked".

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Last Modified: Wednesday, 28 November 2007; 02:11:02 PST.
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