soup to nuts
Posted: 20 June 2012 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Does anyone use the phrase “soup to nuts” non-ironically any longer?  I last recall hearing it non-ironically in the 90’s.

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Posted: 20 June 2012 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I was involved in the production of a company cookbook at one point a few years back.  I tried to get the first section to be soup recipes and the last section a list of the employees who had contributed recipes.  I wanted the title of the cookbook to be Soup To Nuts.

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Posted: 20 June 2012 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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What would “ironic” use be?  Using it to mean “incomplete”?

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Posted: 20 June 2012 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dr. Techie - 20 June 2012 01:05 PM

What would “ironic” use be?  Using it to mean “incomplete”?

I’m thinking the phrase is outdated.  Like “groovy”.  Nowadays, if someone says “groovy” they are usually doing it ironically.

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Posted: 20 June 2012 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’m not familiar with the phrase, though I assume it’s referring to all the courses of a meal. Please give examples - ironic and non-ironic - of how it would be used, and which of the two is the more common?

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Posted: 21 June 2012 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Of course its original use was in describing the entirety of a meal, but the question is (I presume) about the once-common figurative use, meaning “from start to finish, the whole shebang.” Here’s an 1899 quote I turned up at Google Books (p. 76 of The Degeneration of Dorothy: A Novel, by Frank Kinsella):

For your sake I have endured the Nibelungen Cycle from soup to nuts — or I should say, after Horace, ‘ from the egg to the apple.’

For those who can see it, a view of the page:
books?id=HvocAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA76&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U39IS4xibGkiyNyjtpgM6xMw62LWA&ci=181,68,798,586&edge=0

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Posted: 21 June 2012 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Does anyone use the phrase “soup to nuts” non-ironically any longer?  I last recall hearing it non-ironically in the 90’s.

Might be hard to know for sure in some cases.

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Posted: 21 June 2012 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I agree with OP Tipping - I think it would be very hard to tell if for certain if the phrase is being used “ironically” (in the sense that the speaker is mocking the vey idiomatic phrase that he or she just used).  The phrase, I think, has always been whimsical and somewhat “jokey”.  So discerning whether a writer or speaker is “joking” about the whimsicalness of the phrase or about the fact that it is a somewhat “old fashioned” expression would be a tricky task without a very, very deep exploration of the context in which it is used in a given example.  But, FWIW, in the instances where I recall hearing it, it did not seem to be used for a sort of kitsch effect: the expression was used playfully, but the speaker was not necessarily making fun of the expression itself for being dated.

And I’m not sure that it is dated in the same sense that an expression like “groovy” or “grody to the max” is: the latter had a shelf-life of being fashionable of about five seconds.  Soup to nuts has been around for a while, and I’m not sure it inherently produces eye-rolls the way “grody to the max” does.  (groovy seems to have made something of a comeback, as I have heard it used non-ironically in some TV and radio shows, relatively recently).

Finally, I would note, FWIW, that I seem to hear “soup to nuts” used more by east-coasters of the US than west-coasters.  I’m not sure if it’s a regional thing or if it is just a coincidence that I’ve pretty much only heard it used by such speakers.  The expression has always seemed a bit odd to me and took me a while to decode, because I’ve never had a plate of nuts as the last course of a meal, so the underlying metaphor was a bit obscure (I also wondered, and still wonder to some extent, if “nuts” is being used as a bit of a double entendre, but, if it is, does soup also have a correspondingly naughty sense?  If so, what on earth would that be?). But, nonetheless, I’m not sure it’s really that “dated” (something can, after all, be old without being dated).

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Posted: 21 June 2012 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I agree with Svinyard—I don’t think it’s dated in the same way as “groovy.”

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Posted: 21 June 2012 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It was a bit before my time but it seems to me there was a very narrow window between the coinage of groovy and the time when it was only used mockingly…

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