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Victual

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Victual

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:03 pm

• victual •


Pronunciation: vit-êl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Human food. 2. (Plural) Food and provisions.

Notes: Today's word is used most often in the plural as "to lay in victuals for the coming storm". The noun may be used as a verb, too, which leads to the British use of victualler [vit(e)ler] in reference to an inn-keeper or provisioner of ships or armies. Supply ships themselves have been referred to as victuallers. Victualage [vit(e)lage] may refer to the occupation of a victualler or the supplies he victuals.

In Play: The reason the [c] was returned to today's word was to make it sound more formal, more Latinate (see Word History). The result was the misconception that the pronunciation vittles is incorrect. In fact, it is the natural one, though the spelling is substandard: "We have enough victuals in the house to live for three months without leaving it." But don't forget the delightful derivations of this word, "Bernard, could you help me remove the victualage from the trunk of the car?"

Word History: Today's Good word comes from Old French vitaille or vitale (no C), the normal descendent of Late Latin victualia, the neuter plural of victualis "food, sustenance". In Middle French, the C was reintroduced into the word to produce victuaille, and English soon followed suit. The word is, in fact, sometimes spelled vittle, but has always been pronounced that way throughout the English-speaking world. The root goes back to Proto-Indo-European gwei- "live, life", which gave us English quick in the original sense of "alive", as in "the quick and the dead". Latin lost the G and the W became V in vivere "to live," which stands behind our vital, vivid, vivacious, and Viva!. (It is past time to thank the editors of our series, lo, these many years: Paul Ogden, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, and Mary Jane Stoneburg. My gratitude for their services cannot be overstated.)
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Re: Victual

Postby Slava » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:34 am

Well, this one's a curveball to me. I've always pronounced the "c" and made it 3 syllables. Vittles was the slang term for the fancier pronunciation. I guess I do be were wrong. :oops:
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Re: Victual

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:38 am

:oops: - Me too !
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Re: Victual

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:41 pm

Much too high brow and hi-faluting pedigree. Down here we always spelled it vittles and considered it a hillbilly term. In the high school play "The Campbells Are Coming" a great joke had the set up line something like, "What do you need, Grandpa?" His immediate answer, "VITTLES!" Snuffy Smith also uses the term.
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Re: Victual

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:41 am

I second Perry's observations. Vittles is the way us rednecks spell it and if you are eatin' vittles you ain't eatin' high on the hog. ogh
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Re: Victual

Postby misterdoe » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:12 am

For years and years, up until sometime in the 90s, there was a store in my city selling homestyle meals along with deli-type fare. The store sign advertised the hot food as "vittles," along with a stereotypical painted headshot of a bearded hillbilly holding up a turkey leg. I always wanted to stop there to see if their vittles were any good, but I never did before it changed owners (many times). It's still open, but the sign was changed many years ago. Not sure if they still sell the same type of food, but I'm guessing they don't. :?

For context, I live just north of the New York City border, within walking distance of Bronx end of the #2 subway.
Last edited by misterdoe on Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Victual

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:12 pm

I am retired, but the other day tried Thai food for the
first time, just because.......I think you should go
and reminisce with whoever runs the place now. You
may learn and experience something terrific.
Carpe diem.
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Re: Victual

Postby misterdoe » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:48 pm

I've always wanted to try Thai food but it has a reputation for being hot. I do have occasional acid reflux issues, meaning foods don't even have to be all that hot to give me trouble. I wound up not eating an Indian favorite, chicken tikka masala, for over a year after one bad episode.

But I will give it a shot. And when I get a chance soon, while I'm at home recuperating from surgery, I'll check out the vittles, if that shop still has them.
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Re: Victual

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:40 am

Excellent.
The owner explained the spices they used, and hot-ness.
At this restaurant they give a choice of how hot you want
it based on 1-10 scale. I ordered 3, but he later told me
it was 1, and I love hot food, so was sort of disappointed
but loved it. I told him to bring me what ever since I knew
nothing of Thai food. It was yellow curry chicken. I guess
there are different curries, so one would need to become
educated in that as well. But I enjoyed it thoroughly.
For dessert we had home-made cocoanut ice cream. One
guy near me ordered scale 11 in hotness when 10 was top.
I really wonder what it tasted like. My friend ordered
some sort of noodles which had chicken and peanuts in it.
He cannot take anything 'hot' but enjoyed it very much.
So I guess one just has to take a dive and ask for what
you want. I thought giving the patron the desire of
'hotness' a really unique twist to eating.
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Re: Victual

Postby misterdoe » Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:51 pm

Yup -- taking a dive is how I discovered chicken tikka masala in the first place. I stopped at a deli and saw they had chicken marsala and chicken tikka masala. Never having heard of the second one, I assumed it was just a new version of the first. But Mo, the (Pakistani) store owner, told me it was quite different, the similarity in names was a coincidence. I tried it and it was great.

In time Mo sold the store and the new owners, who were not South Asian, kept making it but watered down the sauce. When the shop was sold again, the chicken tikka masala had become chicken in ever-so-slightly-spicy tomato sauce, nothing more. Soon I found another place with a more authentically Indian recipe. I haven't been there in about a year, but I intend to check them out again toward the end of my time at home recuperating. Or maybe I'll buy a jar of the sauce at Target and make it at home.
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Re: Victual

Postby Slava » Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:54 pm

Good luck with the surgery and may you back with us post-haste!
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Re: Victual

Postby misterdoe » Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:53 pm

Thanks, Slava! :)
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Re: Victual

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:04 pm

I'll piggyback on slava with the same wishes ! !
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Re: Victual

Postby call_copse » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:47 am

Chicken Tikka Masala is found in the US now - excellent! It's kind of a national dish in the UK, created here by Bangladeshi chefs, essentially marinaded chicken roasted in spices and then presented in a yoghurt-based, spiced, tomatoey gravy. There are no more popular vittles than curry in general in the UK - I prefer the harder stuff than Tikka Masala myself, say a minimum of a spicy Jalfrezi (I loved chili from a young age, brought up for some years in Jamaica), but it's all good.

Good luck with the surgery, and I hope you are enjoying a good Tikka soon misterdoe.
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Re: Victual

Postby misterdoe » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:15 pm

Thanks for all the good luck wishes, folks. :-) The surgery went fine. Now I just bear up under soreness and lack of energy until that goes away, and I'll be about as good as new!
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