Wednesday, 12 February 2014


Marmalade is so called because a sixteenth century King of France had a much-loved little daughter called Marie. Marie fell ill and started to waste away, having no appetite. The Court Cook was sent for and instructed to prepare a new delicacy to tempt her. He took bitter oranges, added an equal quantity of sugar, and boiled them together, muttering the while ‘Marie est malade, Marie est malade.’

The above is of course total nonsense; an example of that pleasantly misleading anecdotal genre the folk etymology. Madame Quince has explained to me, citing several authorities, that the word comes from the Portuguese. Briefly, the earliest marmalade was made from quinces; ‘Marmela’ in Portuguese. Those needing more detail on this important matter will be looking forward to Madame Quince’s book on — er — Quinces, title and publishing date yet to be announced.

No comments:

Post a Comment