Getting Your Wordsworth: Eating Out

JOSEPH GALLAGHER

November 15, 1991|By Joseph Gallagher

The Sun's occasional ''restaurant'' guides deal with places where you ''restore'' yourself with meat and drink. Originally meat meant any solid food (''fodder''). Your mate shares your meat, just as your companion (Latin: cum/panis) shares your bread.

By breakfast, of course, you break your fast. By way of a French word that originally meant breakfast, dinner comes from the Latin dis-jejunus (''dis-fasting''). For lunch you eat just a ''lump'' or two. At supper you ''sup,'' with ''soup'' perhaps, or a ''sop'' of broth-dipped bread. A snack is what you ''snatch.''

Your ''menu'' lists your choices in ''minute'' detail (and often small print). Using mental tables, your waiter tabulates your bill and then brings the tab to your solid table. The French tip with a pourboire (''for drinking''); the Germans, with a Trinkgeld (''drink money''). Our ''tip'' may be related to ''tap'' (the waiter on the shoulder?). The explanation that it stands for ''To Insure Promptness'' is probably fanciful.

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