Monday, February 09, 2009

Learn Something New Everyday...

Monday has become bagel day here in the lab. One of our students who left the lab(and science all together) works at Einsteins bagels. If she closes on the Sundays she saves the end of the day bagels and brings them to the lab on Monday.

Whenever she can, she tries to remember to bring me a pumpernickel bagel, as she knows it's one of my favorites. (Must be that German ancestry of mine!) Today when she walked into the lab with her big bag of bagels and announced: "I brought you a pumpernickel!", and a question crossed my mind. What does pumpernickel mean anyway? All these years of enjoying pumpernickel and I had never once wondered where the name came from. Through the wonders of Google the answer was quickly at hand.

I won't recap the entire history and etymology of pumpernickel here, as all that information is available on Wikipedia where I found it, but apparently pumpernickel comes from the High German word "Pumpen" which means flatulent and "Nickel", which was a form of the name Nicholas, and the name Nicholas was once associated with demons. So the meaning of pumpernickel is, well, "devil's fart". Who'd have thought? So how about some "devils fart" for breakfast? My bagel maker friend promises to have a laugh every time some one orders a pumpernickel, er "devil's fart" bagel!


one-eared pig said...

I love pumpernickel bread! (I'm ignoring the part about Devil's Fart. lol)

Ellen said...

Oh, I can hardly wait to work the definition of pumpernickel into a future conversation.