A Pip of a Name

1/30/2013 9:58:00 AM

Tags: Pip, Sherlock Holmes, Food, Janann Giles

I love libraries.  I have stated this on more than one occasion but and this is a big BUT a Kindle Fire appeared in my stocking this Christmas.  It wasn’t love at first click but I’m warming up to the glow from the fire.   

Sherlock Holmes resizedI’m fairly certain any statistician worth his or her data would have me reading a romance novel or a cookbook but they would be wrong.  The genre for 2013 appears to be detective novels – starting with the complete Sherlock Holmes series of stories.  As I read, I can guess the killer early on in many of the tales because I have now seen the same plots repeated and slightly updated on CSI, Law and Order, NCIS etc.  Science may have progressed but the plots remain the same.  

Yes, I do remember the theme of this blog is food.  Food is about to come in play with my ramblings. A feature I’m enjoying in my electronic reading is the ability to highlight a word and have a definition appear.  Admittedly some of the words used by Sherlock Holmes aren’t in a modern dictionary but I’m surprised how many are.  Take “ulster” for example.  When I see the word Ulster I immediately think of Ulster Knife Works – manufacturers of the first Girl Scout knife but when Sherlock tosses an ulster on before leaving Baker Street I’m pretty sure he’s not wrapping a knife around his neck. A quick tap on the screen and I now know about an ulster overcoat.  

The “pip” is more interesting and luckily it is food oriented.  In one story a client came to see the great detective Holmes and told the tale of an envelope being opened and five orange pips dropping out. I was fairly certain from the passage that a pip was an orange seed.  A tap on the tablet’s screen and yep, I was correct, except the definition said “like an orange seed.”  

Pomegrante pipsOther fruit have seeds too. Now I had the nagging thought “are those fruit seeds called pips as well or do only oranges get this odd little name?” A further search revealed that my thinking was correct. Many other fruit have pips; especially pomegranates.  The entire inside is nothing but pips.   

 Still further research led me to quite a few definitions for “pip” with none really related to the others.  Pips are also the dots on dice or if you’re in a verb sort of mood a pip is also what happens when a baby chicken breaks out of its egg shell.  It pips at the shell.  

DiceOranges, eggs and dice – now we’re talking breakfast with a side game of craps.  No that’s wrong: maybe I’ll use the dice to play Monopoly.  

 I’m enjoying Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because he’s so descriptive.  His killings are intriguing and he immerses you directly into his century with his descriptions of people, unfortunately less so with food.  My thought is that food is so commonplace to an era that it needs no description.  His readers could easily visualize statements such as: He ate a pickled egg or the roasted goose was laid on the sideboard.  It takes more for a reader to visual the “baddie”.  No matter the decade to bring reality to the story and give the reader a clue a villain needs large dirty well-worn hands (to pick up the pickled egg) or a have a permanent sneer on his face (as he surveyed the plump goose).  

 I have not given up my love for the library.  I can wander, touch and feel books in the library. The room is mine to explore and my local librarians have such intriguing books on the browser shelf.  On a tablet I need a starting point before I begin scrolling for titles.  Currently I’m working on finding a happy balance between my two reading sources.  You can be sure though whether its paper or electronic there will be food somewhere in whatever I read.   

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