A week on from our exploration of magical beach huts and the characteristics that give wines their individually distinct flavours (#12), we’re back again. We’ll continue to demystify the world of wine in coming weeks, but today, we uncover the origins of some familiar food-quoting phrases and explore our collective feelings towards the pickled items lurking in the shadows of our kitchen cupboards.
🏺 Are You Taking The Piss?! 🏺
We all say things we don’t mean, that’s an unfortunate fact of life. We also all say things that we have no idea why we say them, and that’s slightly different… What do you even mean? I hear you ask. I’m talking about phrases that pepper our everyday conversations, idioms so central to our language that we don’t question their origins, yet if we were to come across them for the first time, we’d be absolutely stumped.
Catherine Ursillo captures a horse undoubtedly "full of beans"
Starting with the phrase “full of beans”, you’ll likely realise how many times you’ve muttered as much without ever giving pause for thought as to its origin. FluentU joyfully equates the phrase to “having ants in your pants”, but that risks confusing things, so let’s stay focused. Supposedly a reference to the fact that horses were historically fed a diet of beans and were noticeably perkier after feeding, its first recorded mention is in John Smith Surtees’ 1843 Handley Cross novel, when he wrote, “Ounds, ‘osses and men are in a glorious state of excitement! Full o’ beans and benevolence!”
Moving now to “spilling the beans”, a phrase often used interchangeably with “letting the cat out [of] the bag”, and one which has its origins in Ancient Greece. Coloured beans were used to cast votes anonymously and voters would have the option of two different coloured beans, taking and placing a bean in their desired jar. Spilling the beans, or the jar containing the beans, would result in the outcome being revealed prematurely, giving rise to the phrase and its sometimes surreptitious associations.
Tell me, which phrases do you use all the time without ever having given a thought to their origins?
We’ll be back for more on this front, but do enjoy this brilliant list
in the meantime.
🥒 Store Cupboard Staples 🥒
When it comes to reader submissions, some are easy to digest, whilst others need time to ruminate or mature. Today’s feature is definitely the latter, but without further ado, please welcome Mrs Elswood Sandwich Slice Cucumbers.
Offending item or inspired addition?
I suspect you may have one of three reactions to this: Yes
, finally!; Disgusting!; never heard of those, what are they?!
If your reaction is the third option, simply transpose your thoughts onto anything pickled that lives in your store cupboard or your fridge. In doing so, we come full circle to the classic condiment debate (#2
) - should these items live in the fridge or in a dark, dry cupboard? Personally, if it’s pickled, it’s got free rein in my kitchen.
Thinking about it now, there seem to be two primary reasons we’re drawn to these pickled peculiarities. The first is the trade off between convenience and flavour - they instantly impose bite and bark to whatever they’re added to. Whether it’s pickled cucumbers, cornichons or any other worldly item steeped in vinegar, their inclusion in a meal transports us somewhere else and reminds of flavours and textures more commonly found outside of our homes.
Overflowing with flavour and charisma
The second element - and tell me if you think I’m wrong - is intrigue. Despite knowing that pickling preserves foods, there’s something strange about an item lurking quietly and with such confidence at the back of your cupboard, sometimes for years, knowing that it can turn the dial on whatever it gets added to next. Seeing a half-eaten jar of pickles is unnerving - it’s something about the briny water - yet I wouldn’t want to be greeted by any other sight when racking my brains and thinking about how to turn a hasty lunch into something worth sharing with the world.
🎨 Wine As Art 🎨
We’ve all been running late to dinner, ducked into the nearest off-licence, emerged with some terrible plonk, sidled past our as-yet-unknowing host with and then pretended that another guest quietly deposited the offending item.
In a bid to put an end to that, a core tenet of the brand when first conjuring up Wednesday’s Domaine was to create a bottle and a label that you were proud to take to dinner and carry over a friend’s threshold.
Château Mouton Rothschild led the charge on partnering with artists on bottle design
We’ve long been big fans of the way London-based, Blackbook Winery
have pushed the envelope on this front, whilst Black Lines celebrate their illustrator collaborations
online. To dig into the history of the practice, check out the original innovators
in this space to discover how the likes of Picasso, Shrigley and Hockney all ended up on the front of wine bottles, whilst being sure to watch this space as we get ready to showcase our own wares very soon.
Thank you for joining and please do continue to spread the good word.
PS. Don’t want to wait a week for our next edition? Check us out on Instagram (@wednesdaysdomaine