Saturday, November 24, 2007


Tonight I went to a French restaurant with S.Vix and was kind of surprised by the number of things on the menu I didn't want - I hate eggs and cheese and I'm not that into organ meats. This made me feel like a nasty, picky American, particularly the organ meat thing, so I decided on a salad that included duck gizzards. I picked this partly because I wasn't 100% sure what gizzards were, which is a clear advantage over sweetbreads.

If you have also wondered about gizzards, my Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1974 ed.) says: The muscular enlargement of the alimentary canal of birds that immediately follows the crop and has usually thick muscular walls and a tough horny lining for grinding the food.

So it's stomach. I guess that's not so bad. Just for entertainment, I checked some of the other dictionaries on my shelf:

  • Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition (1988) - The second stomach of a bird: it has thick muscular walls and a tough lining for grinding food that has been partially digested in the first stomach. (Did dictionaries get easier in those 14 years or does this publisher written for dumber people than the other one?)
  • Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (1959) - derives, with -ard substituted for -er, from ME giser: OF giser (later gisier, F gésier): VL gigērium: by b/f from L gigēria, poultry-entrails offered as sacrifice, (later) gizzard: perh of Iranian origin; perh also akin to L iecur, liver.
  • Cappelen Engelsk Ordbok (2004) - krås. (That's Norwegian.)
  • Harper Collins German Dictionary (1990) - Apparently this dictionary doesn't cover bird anatomy. I think it might be time for a new German dictionary.
  • Cassell's French Dictionary (1978) - gésier, m.
  • American Heritage Spanish Dictionary (2000) - molleja.
  • McKay's Modern English-Swedish Swedish-English Dictionary (1965) - kräva.

So now you know how to avoid gizzards in many languages, including Middle English! No, really, they were fine - just dense little pieces of meat. Much less freaky than the chicken hearts I had at a Brazilian restaurant on Cape Cod a few years ago, and way less freaky than sweetbreads.


Coloradan said...

Look at you, getting home at 1:30 on a Saturday morning, summoning your legions of dictionaries, and blogging about gizzards. So cute!

towwas said...

Final proof: I am a huge nerd.