A Fish Out of Water: The Origins and Meaning of the Food We Speak [Hardcover]
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- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Grange Books; n.e. edition (28 Oct. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1840136251
- ISBN-13: 978-1840136258
- Package Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2 cm
Illustrated with a witty choice of old engravings and cartoons, this book explains the origins of a whole slew of food-related sayings, idioms, catchphrases and proverbs. Some of the explanations are illuminating, some vaguely interesting, others come into the category of stating the bleedin' obvious. The entries are arranged in a rather eccentric version of alphabetical order, with all the sayings beginning with the the word "A", such as "A watched pot never boils", first, all the sayings beginning with "The" under "T", and so on.
There is an entry for "curate's egg", featuring the original Punch cartoon which gave rise to the phrase, with a rather laboured exegesis of the original joke. This is one of the better entries. The book seems to have been produced in the wake of "Eats Shoots and Leaves", and was originally published under the title "Bringing home the bacon and cutting the mustard". It's the sort of thing to have in the smallest room, to while away the odd five minutes.