Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:26:59 -0600
From: Mike Salovesh t20mxs1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Subject: Gooseberry fool references

When I asked her, my wife said "Fool? That's some old-fashioned fruit
dish. My grandfather used to talk about it, summertimes up at the
lake." Then Peggy went to her cookbook collection, on the theory that
non-dictionary sources might be more help in running down the word in
this sense. She found two semi-references.

First, Auguste Escoffier, in his "Ma cuisine" (French original, 1934;
English translation, 1965), has a recipe for "sauce groseilles, dite
'groseilles a maquereau'". The English edition translates this as
"gooseberry sauce, particularly suitable for grilled or boiled
mackerel." Not much help. (Escoffier also gives recipes for a couple
of 'gelees de groseilles', which use "redcurrants and whitecurrants",
with an optional six ounces of raspberries per four pounds of currants.
That doesn't sound like gooseberries to me.)

Peggy went to Escoffier because of a memory quirk that suggested some
kind of relationship between the "fool" of "gooseberry fool" and some
French word or another. Sure enough, in the "Woman's Day Encyclopedia
of Cooking", 2nd edn., 1966, Vol. 5, p.714, she found this:

"FOOL -- This surprising word describes a very old but still popular
English fruit dessert. It is based on a fruit puree (any soft fruit,
especially berries, will do). The fruit is cooked with very little
water, sweetened to taste, strained, and chilled. Just before serving,
chilled whipped cream is added to the fruit puree, in the proportion of
two parts whipped cream to one part fruit. The fool is served in
sherbet glasses. [paragraph] Fool is one of the most delicious of summer
desserts. Where the name comes from is obscure, but it may have been
derived from the French "fol", or 'mad', and perhaps refers to the fact
that the fruit is all mixed up."

(There follows a recipe to illustrate -- which just happens to be for
gooseberry fool.)

The supposition of a French source sounds like a folk etymology to me,
particularly since no source is cited.

We'll check other cookbook sources later. (There are incredible numbers
of cookbooks around our house, partly because Peggy used to co-host a
cooking show on our local broadcast service for the blind.)

-- mike salovesh salovesh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
anthropology department
northern i

From: Automatic digest processor (3/31/98)
To: Recipients of ADS-L digests

ADS-L Digest - 29 Mar 1998 to 30 Mar 1998 98-03-31 00:00:19
There are 10 messages totalling 375 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. "Cool beans!" (3)
2. gooseberry fool
3. subscription
4. THIS X SUCKS and the historical record
5. Unparliamentary Language
6. Mea culpa
7. The Appalachian Dialect: help wanted
8. Another Appalachian Inquiry


Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 00:16:42 -0600
Subject: Re: "Cool beans!"

On Sun, 29 Mar 1998, Gerald Cohen wrote:

Does anyone have any idea about the origin of this expression? In
particular, why "beans"?

Perhaps it's from the Spanish "bien" ("good")?

Tom Head

"This is the exalted melancholy of our fate, that every 'Thou' in
our world must become an 'It'."
-- Martin Buber