toad-in-the-hole
Posted: 21 May 2007 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2007-05-21

Does anyone have an idea why this name should be given to this long-standing English supper dish of braised sausages in batter? I couldn’t find a derivation in the Concise OD, nor any other dictionary I consulted. (Guess what I had for my dinner tonight.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2007 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  155
Joined  2007-01-28

It might be interesting to know how old the expression is. I suspect it’s just a visual metaphor, with the sausage inside the dish. Unknown on this side of the Atlantic. We do have “pigs in a blanket” which as I recall is sausage surrounded by pancakes and smothered in (usually) artificial maple syrup. You won’t need “spotted dick” after eating that.

[ Edited: 22 May 2007 08:14 PM by foolscap ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2007 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3524
Joined  2007-01-29

Oddly, the OED has it only as “a name applied to various games, esp. a form of hide-and-seek and a game in which lead discs are thrown at holes in a wooden structure.” (First citation 1930.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2007 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1373
Joined  2007-01-29

From “Navvyman” by Dick Sullivan, 1983.  I wonder if it’s true.

The Victorians were fascinated by stories of toads/frogs entombed in ancient rock: toad-in-the-hole (sausage in batter) is now all that’s left of it.

ed: The earliest citation I found of the dish was 1828, in a booklet just named Theatre.

[ Edited: 22 May 2007 09:32 PM by ElizaD ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2007 09:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  155
Joined  2007-01-28

Well, that’s interesting. My stepmother’s father was an Oklahoman and an inveterate story teller. “It ain’t a lie if it’s got some truth to it” was one of his sayings. One evening he got off on a reptile/amphibian tangent and started talking about a man who was plowing some bottom land that hadn’t been farmed in quite some time. As the farmer was coursing through the grass he hit a large stone with the blade of the plow and it knocked the plow aside. He had to re-align the horse and as he did so he noticed blood coming out of the stone. When he looked closer it turned out to be a large “terrapin” half -buried in the dirt that only looked like a rock. It had been at least a hundred years before that since the field had been flooded by river water overflowing its banks, and since the terrapin was a water animal it must have lain there ever since.

Then he said he knew a feller who was walking downtown when they were building the new courthouse. Just as he passed, they were laying the cornerstone of the building and the mason saw a toad lying in the dirt and picked it up and through it in the ce-ment where they laid the cornerstone. That same feller was walking by the courthouse when they were tearing it down more than fifty years later and when they broke open the cornerstone that toad was just staring at them with its eyes wide open.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2007 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  24
Joined  2007-02-25

I remember stories in my youth about putting what we called a “horny toad” (Desert Horned Lizard) in a cornerstone and it would live for 50 to 60 years, but I never saw one recovered. I never saw the corpse of one either.

 Signature 

Tool Talk
PapawsImages

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2007 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  155
Joined  2007-01-28

You’re right, it was a horned toad. Now that I think about it that was more or less the point of the story, the animal being a reptile. I heard it more than twenty years ago.

[ Edited: 23 May 2007 04:59 AM by foolscap ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2007 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2344
Joined  2007-01-30
languagehat - 22 May 2007 08:03 PM

Oddly, the OED has it only as “a name applied to various games, esp. a form of hide-and-seek and a game in which lead discs are thrown at holes in a wooden structure.” (First citation 1930.)

It is there, in the entry previous to the game.

6. a. Cookery. toad in the ({dag}a) hole: meat, now usu. sausages, baked in batter.
1787 GROSE Prov. Gloss., Pudding-Pye-Doll, the dish called toad-in-a-hole, meat boiled in a crust. Norf. 1797 F. BURNEY Lett. Dec., Mrs. Siddons and Sadler’s Wells..seems..as illfitted as the dish they call a toad in a hole,..putting a noble sirloin of beef into a poor paltry batter-pudding

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2007 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3524
Joined  2007-01-29

Huh!  Then I emend my statement to “Oddly, the OED has it as a separate entry only as a term for a game, hiding the more common culinary sense in the toad entry.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2007 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4786
Joined  2007-01-03

Then he said he knew a feller who was walking downtown when they were building the new courthouse. Just as he passed, they were laying the cornerstone of the building and the mason saw a toad lying in the dirt and picked it up and through it in the ce-ment where they laid the cornerstone. That same feller was walking by the courthouse when they were tearing it down more than fifty years later and when they broke open the cornerstone that toad was just staring at them with its eyes wide open

Sounds like a Warner Bros. cartoon to me. The toad didn’t begin to sing, did it?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2007 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  155
Joined  2007-01-28

A capella. But in the manner of the Tuvans.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2007 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2007-05-21

Many thanks to those who have replied.  I think I agree with aldiboronti -it’s an English corruption of a foreign phrase.

Next question: what is the origin of the American term “grits”.

[ Edited: 25 May 2007 02:49 PM by johnsy ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2007 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2852
Joined  2007-01-31

I think I agree with aldiboronti -it’s an English corruption of a foreign phrase.

I don’t seem to be able to find where aldi (or anybody else) said that.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2007 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2344
Joined  2007-01-30

I certainly didn’t say it, here or elsewhere.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 May 2007 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3524
Joined  2007-01-29

And if you want to ask about grits, please do so in another post; it’s best to keep each post to a single topic as far as possible.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 May 2007 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
RankRank
Total Posts:  54
Joined  2007-03-05

I’m surprised not to find ‘Hide the Sausage’ as the name of a hide and seek game ...

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ swashbuckler      Dwell ››