Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Mess of Pottage

A delicatessen of gourmands ate a hill of beans...
I have a fondness for collective nouns. This profuse vocabulary for groups of things has its roots in a rural past of hawking (hunting with birds), huntsmen, gamekeepers, fishermen and poachers. Here are some of my favourite food-related terms (NB. some of these are no longer commonly eaten!):

A shoal of bass (or fish generally)
A catch of fish (deceased)
A singular of boars
A drove of cattle
A sheaf of corn
A clutch of eggs
A sclerosis of fast food
A trip of goats
A husk of hare
An army of herring
A drift of hogs
An ostentation of peacocks
A nye of pheasants
A quantity of smelt
A wedge of swans
A sounder of swine
A spring of teal
A hover of trout
A fall of woodcock

Source and further reading:
James Lipton. An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition (1993). Penguin Books.

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