koekje (cook-yuh)

The chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Wakefield in 1937.

Every country has its own word for “cookie,” a sweet confection that can be soft or crisp. The word “cookie” comes from koekje, a Dutch word that means “little cake.” Dutch immigrants brought the word “koekje” to North America when they began to settle in New Amsterdam (later called New York city) in the early 1600s. Koekje eventually became anglicized to “cookie”; the first known usage of the word occurs in 1703.

The most popular variety of cookie in the United States is chocolate chip. In 1937, Ruth Wakefield accidentally created the chocolate chip cookie when she substituted chunks of semi-sweet chocolate for powdered chocolate in a butter cookie recipe. Wakefield assumed that the chocolate chunks would melt like the powdered chocolate, but instead, the chunks retained their shape. Thus, the chocolate chip cookie was born! In 1939, Betty Crocker mentioned the chocolate chip cookie on a radio show, making it nationally famous.

If you are a resident of a country outside the U.S.A., what word do you use to refer to “cookie”? What is your favorite type of cookie?                                                                                                                                                                 

History of Cookies. http://www.whatscookingamerica.com
Cookie. http://www.wikipedia.com

gifblaar (gifˌblär)

Gifblaar is a poisonous plant that is fatal to cattle in Southern Africa. (Image from en.wikipedia.org)

Hello everyone! Today, I’ve chosen to post about an unusual word from Afrikaans.

Afrikaans is an Indo-European language and is specifically part of the West Germanic language tree. It is the official language of South Africa and Namibia and is spoken by millions of people. Afrikaans is descended from Dutch, therefore, these two languages have similar language patterns. It is interesting to note that people who speak Afrikaans can also understand Dutch.

The word gifblaar comes from the Afrikaans roots gif, meaning poison, and blaar meaning leaf. The English translation for this word is “poison leaf.” Gifblaar is a poisonous plant native to Southern Africa and is toxic to cattle, causing death within hours of ingestion.