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"Appetizing," "Appy" and Variations


Fat Guy
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I'm talking about the word "appetizing" as used by Old World Jewish deli-type places. It seems to be considered a noun in that vernacular. Does anybody know how this came about?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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What a good question  :smile:

Theoretically, it should be the present participle (therefore an adjectival form) of the verb "to appetize", as of course would be the nouns appetite and appetizer. However, there appears to be no such verb as "appetize".

Something is definitely wrong here, and we may be obliged to strike all these commonly accepted words from the English language forthwith. Which of course doesn't mean they can't be used by Jewish delis  :smile:

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Funny, I asked myself exactly that question at the weekend, when I passed a deli in the East 70s, I think, which had "Appetizing" in big neon letters right under its proprietary name.  It is unquestionably a noun in that context, and it's also one of those nouns that doesn't have a plural.  "Let's go and buy some appetizing," right? not "appetizings."

I assumed the derivation is from the familiar term "appetizers", which might reasonably thought to include lox and so on.  How it got corrupted, I don't know.  Cute term, though.

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Hey, if you asked yourself the same damn question, why did I have to be the one to post it? Get on the ball, Wilfrid!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Funny, I asked myself exactly that question at the weekend, when I passed a deli in the East 70s, I think, which had "Appetizing" in big neon letters right under its proprietary name.  It is unquestionably a noun in that context, and it's also one of those nouns that doesn't have a plural.

I don't know Wilfrid.  In the context you describe (under the name of an establishment) it sounds more like a descriptive term, instead of a noun OR a verb.

"Wolfies:  Appetizing..."

See... they are saying that Wolfies is appetizing.  Never mind the fact that Wolfies is making the food and is not the food itself (I mean you aren't eating Wolfies, you are eating Wolfies food).  So maybe it is: "(The food at) Wolfies (is) appetizing."

It's like saying:

"Ford: Reliable..."

Translated:

("The cars from) Ford (are) reliable."

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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But the signs say stuff like:

Bagels and Appetizing

Smoked Fish and Appetizing

I think this indicates a noun or at least something in the noun family.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steven I am sorry for slacking.  I am clearly not spending enough of my time on eGullet matters.   :wow:

Jon, I know what you mean, but I am in no doubt thatit was being used in the Steven Shaw sense on this occasion.  It was such an old-style, traditional Jewish deli, and they were for sure selling "appetizing".

It just occurs to me that I read an article about this.  It was someone's childhood memories of going out with grandfather to by "appetizing" on Sunday mornings.  Within the last couple of years, maybe, but can I remember where I read or who it's by?  I can barely remember my own name.

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But the signs say stuff like:

Bagels and Appetizing

Smoked Fish and Appetizing

I think this indicates a noun or at least something in the noun family.

True... but I think its a twisting of the former usage as a modifier.  It started out that way and through mis-use became something else.

Like so...

Egullet: Enlightening

transformed eventually to

Egullet: For Discussion and Enlightening

See?

Eventually even the inclusion of "Egullet" would seem to become unnecessary--after all you KNOW where you are.  So you'd be left simply with "For Discussion and Enlightening".

Taken even a step further it became obvious that the terms appetizer and appetizing were so close that, yes, that additional corruption of the meaning snuck in there.  But I've noticed this mis-use of "ing" words in plenty of other places...

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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From a menu:

Salads, Smoked Fish & Dairy Appetizing

A couple more signs:

Russ & Daughters Appetizing of Houston St.

Miller's Famous Cheese & Appetizing

Schacht Appetizing & Deli

And here are a couple of examples of the word used in a sentence on kosher Web sites:

"Butcher, appetizing and sit-down deli. Supervised by Rabbi Jesse . . ."

"This bagelry and appetizing establishment offers a wide variety . . ."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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This word seems to be one used primarily in writing, whether it be in an eGullet description of a deli or in neon on a store window. I've never actually heard anyone speak the word in context. You say, "I'm going to get bagels" which usually means Bagels and lox, cream cheese, smoked whitefish, pickled herring (with or without sour cream), etc. All of this stuff is the "appetizing" but I've never audibly heard it referred to that way.

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Rachel-You are simply wrong. We had a family friend who owned an "appetizing store" in Canarsie. And that is exactly how my father reffered to it. And on Sunday morning when he went out to buy lox, if you asked him where he was going he would say "the appetizing store," which was in the shopping center near our apartment.

Let me teach you guys Jewish immigrant speak.

"Appetizing" is the noun used to describe anything  that is carried by a store which is basically in the business of selling smoked fish. All the ancilaries to smoked fish are part of the description. This rule works until you are trying to describe an item that has its own store to describe the item. For example, on a trip to Barney Greengrass, you might buy bagels, lox, cream cheese and a babka (yeast cake for those who don't know.) The first three items are appetizing and the babka is a cake bought at an appetizing store. Technically appetizing because of its inclusion but not appetizing as an item. And it would be allowed to refer to the babka as "appetizing" when purchased in that manner.

Everybody got that?

Another example that illsutrates this well is the purchase of pastrami or corned beef at a place like Murray's Sturgeon Shop, along with Russ & Daughters an "appetizing" shop par excellence. Pastrami and corned beef are "delicatessen," even when bought at an "appetizing" store. And the reverse is true as well. When you have a bagel and lox at the Canbegie Deli you have eaten "appetizing" at a "Delicatessen." Fershaist?

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I am agreeing with you on this thread, Steve P. - that was my understanding.  But may I also point to the unharnessed, impressionistic genius of Tommy, who mentioned the grammatical term "gerund" on the restaurant review thread.  I think a gerund is a noun made from a verb, and that seems to be what "appetizing" is.  I stand, as always, open to correction.

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I am agreeing with you on this thread, Steve P. - that was my understanding.  But may I also point to the unharnessed, impressionistic genius of Tommy, who mentioned the grammatical term "gerund" on the restaurant review thread.  I think a gerund is a noun made from a verb, and that seems to be what "appetizing" is.  I stand, as always, open to correction.

indeed.  a noun posing as a verb.  never trust a noun posing as a verb.  that's what i say at least.

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I know at the Supermarket I worked at as a kid here in Sopranoland the deli section was referred to as "Appetizing" or just "Appy" for short.

The organizational structure of the market was:

Front Office

Cashiers

Grocery

Produce

Dairy

Frozen

Meat/Seafood

Appetizing

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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indeed.  a noun posing as a verb.  never trust a noun posing as a verb.  that's what i say at least.

No, Tommy, a verb posing as a noun.  I dunno, I describe you as a genius, then you show up and embarrass me! :angry:

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I know at the Supermarket I worked at as a kid here in Sopranoland the deli section was referred to as "Appetizing" or just "Appy" for short.

Let me guess... A Shop-Rite? I remember wondering (as a kid) what Appy was supposed to mean.

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I know at the Supermarket I worked at as a kid here in Sopranoland the deli section was referred to as "Appetizing" or just "Appy" for short.

Let me guess... A Shop-Rite?

You guessed it!  I knew the Sakers, the family that owned the chain.  The Soprano comment was not that far off base...

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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I think this indicates a noun or at least something in the noun family.

Now what the heck is "the noun family" ? I mean, are we talking words here, or are we talking the whol of English grammar? If it's the whole grammar thing, for heaven's sake don't let Plotnicki post in this thread --- it could get longer than the AB Bio.

And I still don't have an answer to my question. Is there such a verb as "to appetize" ? Even in Jewish-immigrant-speak ???

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I've never heard it used, but it's a good word.

"What are we going to do to appetize this dish?"

"Let's appetize that with a little bacon."

By the noun family I mean words that act as nouns, such as gerunds.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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steve plotnicki,

this fascinates me so let me clarify:

"appetizing" is "Jewish immigrant" vernacular, no?  it means, roughly, the "fixings" that go with the bagel?  it does NOT mean "appetizer"--these two words aren't interchangable here.

is the use of this word in this way a direct translation from the original yiddish [i'm assuming yiddish]?

and to further clarify, the present participle of a verb can function as an adjective [participial] or as a noun [gerund]:

That deli specializes in appetizing.  noun

That bagel looks appetizing.  adjective

the problem i am having here is that there is no verb to appetize that i am aware of, as has already been noted.

being a southerner and sadly not jewish, i have never seen appetizing used in the way steven describes.  being a language teacher i feel i MUST have an answer.  answer me, people :biggrin: !

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Ah, now you're talking REAL grammar.

To nosh (vb) To eat, more commonly to snack

Nosh (nn) that which is noshed

Nosh (nn) a nice child, as in "She's a nosh"

Nosher (nn) One who noshes

Derivation: Abbr. for NOuriSH

Verbal conjugation (singular):

I can't nosh, I'm on diet

Nosh, darling, you look so thin

She noshes all the time, look at the size of her

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