an Irish dish made of cabbage, kale, or other greens, and potatoes boiled and mashed together.
Colcannon “an Irish dish made of cabbage, greens, and potatoes” is an anglicization of the Irish Gaelic term cál ceannann, in which cál means “cabbage” and ceannann means “white-headed.” Cál comes via Old Irish from Latin caulis, of the same meaning, which is the source of cauliflower as well as cole, a catchall term for plants of the mustard family. Ceannann is a compound of ceann “head” and -ann, a weak variant of fionn “white,” and has an unexpected cognate in English: penguin. While ceannann means “white-headed” in Irish Gaelic, penguin may derive from Welsh pen gwyn “white head.” Irish Gaelic and Welsh belong to two different branches of the Celtic group of Indo-European languages: Q-Celtic and P-Celtic, respectively. Many c-words in Q-Celtic correspond to p-words in P-Celtic because of an ancient sound shift; also compare Irish Gaelic cúig to Welsh pump “five.” Colcannon was first recorded in English circa 1770.
This delectable mixture of buttered greens and potatoes is yet another way of foretelling the future at Halloween. A heaped portion is served on each plate. A well is made in the center of the heap to hold a generous lump of butter. The colcannon is eaten from around the outside of the heap, each person dipping his fork first into the colcannon and then into the melting butter. The perfect accompaniment to colcannon is a glass of fresh buttermilk.
My instinct at this time of year is to write about colcannon, an ancient pagan dish originally made as a gift for fairies and spirits. I also consider mashed potato rippled with cabbage, with a pool of golden melted butter in the centre, to be an absolute gift. So not much has changed. I have made colcannon many different ways over the years and have shared the recipes, from kale colcannon to a buttery leek and ham hock version.
yielding or containing gold.
Auriferous “yielding or containing gold” is based on Latin aurifer “gold-bearing” and the adjectival suffix -ous “full of, containing.” Aurifer is a compound of aurum “gold” and the suffix -fer “bearer,” from the verb ferre “to bear, carry.” As we learned from the recent Word of the Day aureate, aurum is of uncertain origin but may be related to Latin aes “brass, bronze, copper” or aurōra “dawn.” Ferre comes from the Proto-Indo-European root bher-, of the same meaning, which is also the root of Ancient Greek phérein “to carry,” the source of euphoria, metaphor, and phosphorus. The root bher- is also behind the English verb bear; because of Grimm’s law, which changes stop consonants in Germanic languages such as English, German, and Swedish, the Proto-Indo-European sounds bh, dh, and gh—in which the h indicates aspiration, a “puff of air” sound—often become b, d, and g in English. Auriferous was first recorded in English in the 1720s.
When the soil of Happy Rest supported nothing more artificial than a broken wagon wheel, left behind by some emigrants going overland to California, a deserter from a fort near by [sic] discovered that the soil was auriferous …. Within three hours every man within five miles of that barroom knew that the most paying dirt on the continent had been discovered not far away, and three hours later a large body of gold-hunters, guided by the deserter, were en route for the auriferous locality …
Strictly speaking, gold does not belong to the rivers—it was washed into them from the hills; hence it is useless to look for gold at the head of these streams, when the neighbouring hills are not of the auriferous nature; and we find this fact corroborated by our personal examination of the head of streams of the gold region.
a very hard rock, anciently quarried in Egypt, having a dark, purplish-red groundmass containing small crystals of feldspar.
Porphyry “a very hard, dark, purplish-red rock” derives via Middle English from Medieval Latin porphyreum, from Ancient Greek porphyrī́tēs (líthos) “purplish (stone).” The Ancient Greek word for “purple” is pórphyros, which comes from the noun porphýra “kind of shellfish yielding purple dye, the dye, cloth so dyed,” which is of uncertain origin. However, some linguists consider porphýra to have been a loanword from a pre-Greek language or a Semitic source. Porphýra was later borrowed into Latin as purpura and then into Old English as purpure, which became purple in a process known as dissimilation, when a sound in a word changes to become less like another nearby sound. Dissimilation also explains how Latin marmor becomes Old English marmel and then English marble. Porphyry was first recorded in English in the late 14th century.
The perfume of ten thousand flowers drifted upon the winds, which came and went over a thousand gardens, ebbing and flowing like the tide. Clouds of snowy gold and roses rolled across the sky, like the vast rotundas of a city builded of colored ivory. Slowly rising overhead, in windy and ethereal masses, they stood, carvings of pale porphyry upon a turquoise wall. The earth was transfigured with beauty. It was a golden age, when all things were fair; nothing had grown old; even the tragic and the terrible were comely then. Wonder lay on everything. Merely to exist was to be happy.
Objects have long been considered a poor cousin to paintings, but not at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where two recent acquisitions spanning centuries and civilizations were as functional as they were decorative. One is an early Roman vessel used as a cinerary urn …. Elaborately carved from porphyry, a purple-red hard stone that was regarded as a royal material in ancient Rome, the vessel is only about 10 inches high and 9 inches wide and is shaped like a wine bucket, decorated with two intricately carved masks of a bearded Silenus, a mythological figure.
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