A Pip of a Name

Christmas came and went and so did the New Year but not a home-baked cookie or other baked goodie is in the house.  What happened?  A pip happened, that’s what.  It’s been so warm here in the South that the holidays seem to sneak in.  I need a smidgen of cold to help me anticipate the season. In Florida, even in winter you might still be wearing shorts but since I no longer live in Florida, now when I’m wearing shorts and t-shirts I’m not thinking ho ho ho I’m thinking vacation, vacation vacation.

Good Intentions Gone Bad

Yes, the holidays happened, that’s what and all those good intentions and recipes were laid aside in the final frantic rush.  Then came Christmas morning with a Kindle Fire in my stocking which moved me into the world of Angry Bird and classic literature (it’s free and I don’t have to worry about getting it back to the library in 2 weeks).

Sidney Paget: Sherlock Holmes

I’m fairly certain any statistician worth his or her data would have me reading a romance novel or a cookbook but they would be wrong.  The genre of this new year is detective novels – specifically Sherlock Holmes and works by Dashiell Hammett.   I can guess the killer early on in many of the novels because I have now seen the same plots repeated and slightly updated on CSI, Law and Order, NCIS etc.  Science may have progressed but the plots remain the same.

Yes, I do remember the theme of this blog is food.  Food is about to come in play with my ramblings. A feature I’m enjoying in my electronic reading is the ability to highlight a word and have a definition appear.  Admittedly some of the words used by Sherlock Holmes aren’t in a modern dictionary but I’m surprised how many are.  Take “ulster” for example.  When I see the word Ulster I immediately think of Ulster Knife Works – manufacturers of the first Girl Scout knife but when Sherlock tosses an ulster on before leaving Baker Street I’m pretty sure he’s not wrapping a knife around his neck. A quick tap on the screen and I now know about an ulster overcoat.

Finally Food to Write About

The pip is more interesting.  In one story a client came to see the great detective Holmes and told the tale of an envelope being opened and five orange pips dropping out. I was fairly certain from the passage that a pip was an orange seed.  A tap on the screen and yep, I was correct, except the definition said “like an orange seed.”

My trusty Fire had just let me down. Now I had the nagging thought “do other fruits have pips?”  A further search revealed that my thinking was correct. Many other fruit have pips; especially pomegranates.  The entire inside is nothing but pips.

Pomegrante seeds

Still further research led me to quite a few definitions for “pip” with none really related to the others.  Pips are also the dots on dice or if you’re in a verb sort of mood a pip is also what happens when a baby chicken breaks out of its egg-shell.  It pips at the shell.

Oranges and eggs – now we’re talking breakfast with a side game of craps.  No that’s wrong: maybe Monopoly.  That’s the ticket; on second thought  all the young folk who might have played a board game with me have gone back to school (YEAH!).  Sorry, that was a momentary loss of grandmotherly love wasn’t it?

English: Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961)

Dashiell Hammett (credit: Wikipedia)

Doyle and Hammett have different writing styles but I must admit I’m enjoying Doyle more.  There’s a bit more intrigue with the killings. Both authors though spent considerable time describing the various people in their stories…not as much describing the food.  Just a thought, food is so commonplace to an era that it needs no description:  He ate a pickled egg.  The roasted goose was laid on the sideboard.  No matter the decade a villain needs large dirty well-worn hands (to pick up the pickled egg) or a permanent sneer (as he surveyed the plump goose) in order to give the reader a clue.

If I can just manage to solve a few more murders perhaps I’ll take time to bake those Christmas cookies before the next federal holiday.  Stay tuned, if you’re not already on my email list – just sign up on the right and you’ll get an email when send out a new post, perhaps with tasty cookie recipes you can save until next December.


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