Monday, March 20, 2006

Nothing-In-The-House: A Brief Phrase History

Oh Georgy

So why is this blog called 'nothing-in-the-house?,' you might wonder. Well, it is a phrase that I think has a certain...'je ne sais quoi,' but also comes from some reading I did in my 1968 edition of 'The Study of American Folklore' by Jan Harold Brunvand (purchased at Crow Books).

Here's what Brunvand has to say, "It was with 'Nothing-in-the-house Pies' that the early American housewife showed her best form. These were either concocted from otherwise insipid fruits--green currants or huckleberries, and elderberries, for instance--or from unlikely ones such as grapes or rhubarb. The out-and-out 'mock' pies required the greatest daring--crushed crackers could be made to taste like an apple filling, with the proper seasoning, and either vinegar or field-sorrel flavored cream pie might pass for lemon. One mock mincemeat pie was made from green tomatoes[my dad has made this, and LOVES it.], and another from rolled crackers and raisins properly seasoned. In some families there was a traditional design, often a monogram initial, that was cut or punched into the top crusts of pies as a last flourish."

So there you have it. Now go make that field-sorrel(?) taste like lemon cream pie!

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