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24 July 2009 / April

Unexpected appearances of food

Today was the last day of Suzuki Institute.  This meant that my “day,” in the sense of the period of time during which I had serious obligations, was severely abbreviated thanks to my not having to play for the concert that afternoon.  So my day ended at 10 AM.

This also meant that I got a check.  And a hug from the institute director, of course.

On my way to the office to receive this check, I was pleasantly surprised to notice a bowl of cucumbers sitting on a chair, accompanied by a sign declaring they were free to go to “a good home.”  I figured my homes (yes, both of them) were good enough for a cucumber.  So I got a nice homegrown cucumber.

Cucumber is quite a word.  Just now I did what I frequently do when confronted with amusing or strange words, which is look it up in the OED (Online Etymology Dictionary, mind).  I quote for your edification.

c.1384, from O.Fr. cocombre, from L. cucumis (acc. cucumerem), perhaps from a pre-Italic Mediterranean language. Replaced O.E. eorþæppla (pl.), lit. “earth-apples.” Cowcumber was common form 17c.-18c., and that pronunciation lingered into 19c. Planted as a garden vegetable by 1609 by Jamestown colonists. Phrase cool as a cucumber (c.1732) embodies ancient folk knowledge confirmed by science in 1970: inside of a field cucumber on a warm day is 20 degrees cooler than the air temperature.

Why did we stop pronouncing it “cowcumber”?  Oh man.

Then there was Operation Aardvark.

Rather than give you all the details, because not even I understand them (frantically trying to find Steve W.’s phone number, creeping through front yards in dresses and ponchos, meeting mothers who we hope are used to somewhat bizarre friends), I shall present to you photographic evidence of the aardvark cake’s progression to birthday glory.

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Maddie’s dad, in a tone of subdued bemusement: “There’s an aardvark in our fridge.”

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Maddie: “I hope their house doesn’t have windows.”

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Steve, on the phone to Jenny: “I have something for you, but I don’t want to leave it on your porch because I’m afraid it might bite someone.”

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Waiting impatiently for the birthday girl to arrive.  I’m glad we got her mom in on the surprise, or else we would’ve spent half an hour crouching behind trees.

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Thanks to all the ninjas who helped make this happen.  Oh, and happy birthday, Jenny.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Rafael Lizarralde / Jul 24 2009 9:59 pm

    Hah, now potatoes are the earth-apples.

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