Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

December 4, 2011

New Word: Umble Pie

Filed under: FOOD and RECIPES,NEW WORDS — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
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CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

NEW WORD: UMBLE PIE

     While at a Westmoreland County (PA) Historical Society program on Christmas traditions in Southwestern Pennsylvania the term umble pie arose.

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     Huh? Isn’t it humble pie?

     No.

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     Umble pie is a term for a variety of pastries originally based on medieval meat tripe pies. The pie filling consisted of the liver, heart, and other offal, especially of the cow but often deer or boar.

     The word is a derivation of the French word nomble, meaning deer innards.

     Umbles were considered an inferior food, and in medieval times the pie was often served to lower class people.*

     The umble pie recipe later evolved to a form which might contain fruit and sweetening, often without meat. **

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So what about humble pie?

     Although “umbles” and the modern word “humble” are etymologically unrelated, each word has appeared both with and without the initial “h” after the Middle Ages until the 19th century. Since the sound “h” is often dropped in many dialects, and “umble” was a humble meal anyway, the phrase was rebracketed as “humble pie. While “umble” is now gone from the language, the phrase remains, carrying the fossilized word as an idiom.

     Recent “humble pie” recipes often have only sweet fillings. Modern humble meat pie recipes often included pricier cuts of meat such as chopped steak.*

SOURCES

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humble_pie

**http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/1/messages/2689.html

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