Word of the Day - Black Cat Photography
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Mar. 26, 2008 (Day 60)

Misnomer: a misnaming


I was trying to figure out last night how to use up the buttermilk I had left over from making Irish soda bread last week. My first thought was buttermilk pie, but I didn't feel like making pie crust. And then I thought of buttermilk pancakes. I found a recipe online and saved it for later.

I woke up this morning and pulled my laptop into my kitchen so I could retrieve the recipe and have some yummy pancakes for breakfast (I love having a laptop and wireless for this reason--no more printing recipes!). My browser loads my Google page as my homepage, so I was greeted with the WotD before I went to retrieve my recipe and open another tab with Pandora for some tunes while I cooked.

"Great," I thought. "How the heck do you photograph a misnaming?" As I mixed up my batter, I blearily thought over the word (precoffee) before it occurred to me that "buttermilk" was a misnomer. There's no butter in buttermilk. Why do we call it that?

In fact, when I was looking into making my soda bread, I didn't have any buttermilk on hand so I looked for substitutions. The solution being "coddled" milk: you take a cup of milk and add a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to it and let it sit for 15 minutes until it gets lumpy. Yummmmm.

I'd always heard of coddled eggs in a joking sense, and the term "coddled" for handling someone with kid gloves--spoiling, per se--but I never bothered to look up what it meant as a process. I was content having a vague, disgusted feeling whenever I heard "coddled eggs." Now that I've found out how to coddle milk, I really don't want to know how to coddle eggs. I will not look it up. Slightly-less-vague impression of disgust will do.

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