The other week I was writing a post and wanted to use the word guffaw. So I did. After writing most of the post, I started editing — cutting out words here, replacing words over there, correcting misspellings…and so on. During this process I began to wonder if I was using guffaw correctly. Did it mean what I thought? Because I care about these sorts of things I looked to the dictionary for an answer. It answered no, guffaw meant a boisterous laugh. That was not my intention. Needing a replacement word I went to the thesaurus and looked up derision. Because that was my intention. Well, really, I wanted a laugh-like sound of derision, but that’s a definition and you can’t look up a definition.
The thesaurus gave me snicker as a possible synonym of derision. Which could work, but it didn’t really flow well in the sentence. Its s and n slur and hard k all made it too harsh. I took it, though, and went further into the thesaurus. In its back pages I found guffaw listed as a possible synonym for snicker. This answer only caused me to wonder was the only reason guffaw didn’t appear as a synonym to derision due to space? Or was it because under the simple definition snicker and guffaw are both forms of laughter, yet the laughter has different meanings? Snicker can be either laughter or derisive laughter. Guffaw can be either laughter or boisterous laughter.
This gave me a dilemma. Which, according to The American Heritage dic-tion-ar-y Third Edition, means a “situation that requires a choice between options, usu. equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive.”
Then I started to wonder why anyone wouldn’t love language. Why are people so eager to ignore it until daily conversation is made up of a small set of words and phrases. It seems that when you start to get rid of the letters you lose some of the words. Why do they text C U 2 night? Could you say “I C the C”? What if you were in the c and you wanted to say I c a c-gull? But, perhaps people don’t text those observations. Would anyone know what was meant?
The person reading, instead of saying what a hilarious statement, would write :). More loquacious individuals might write back lol or lmao or rotfl. All are based on a single word though. Why not gol, cmao or rotfw?
Working at my unnamed company I have recently and temporarily been given the opportunity to spend large portions of my day writing. This is an opportunity I am cherishing. Going to work is practically a pleasure. Interesting though, is that, the more time I spend writing, the less time I care to spend writing the small things. The k’s and the lol’s, the :P’s and the !’s. This is an inclination that is best halted. My co-workers should perhaps prepare for a Much Obliged or an I consent in my brief responses hereafter.
Many years ago, my mom handed me a recipe from a Cooking Light magazine and told me to make it for the family dinner that night because she and my dad were working late. It was a butternut squash soup with apples and curry plus scones on the side. I loved it. I loved cooking it. I loved having the kitchen — my mom’s kitchen — all to myself. This was all I remembered from it. Over the past years (I couldn’t even say when exactly this was) I have thought back to this soup. If you do a search on the magazine’s website you find a lot of soup recipes containing butternut squash, apple and curry. You might, if inclined, say that they are all synonyms. I kept looking though, through the slight variations in title, through the list of ingredients until I found one that seemed about right and happened to be pictured with a scone. Being a memory I was never going to find the exact recipe. Even if my mom handed it to me again, I would make it and question. This one was very good, but perhaps it is time to look to the thesaurus.
Butternut Apple Curry Soup
adapted from Cooking Light’s Recipe
about 1 pound butternut squash
1 ½ Granny Smith apples
not quite ½ onion
1 clove garlic
some olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon curry
about 22 ounces vegetable broth
grated sharp white cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 400°. Peel the butternut squash. Every time I go to peel a butternut squash I am sure that it will be an ordeal. A tedious, risk of chopping off all my fingers, difficulty. It’s not, but somehow I never believe that my vegetable peeler can peel a butternut squash. It can. So peel that gourd. Then scoop out the seeds and chop it up into big chunks. Put in a small roasting pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and put it in the oven until tender. This can take some time, so you don’t have to move quickly through the next part. In fact if you have some other things to do about now that would be okay too.
Peel , decore, and big chunk the granny smith apple. Finely chop the onion. Then mince the garlic.
Once the squash is tender or about there. Heat some more olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onion, apple and bay leaf for about 10 minutes, until smooshy tender. Add in the garlic and curry and cook for a moment. Add in the squash and broth. Simmer uncovered for a bit. I think the recipe recommended about 20 minutes. Aim for that.
Now take your potato masher and mash up the soup a bit.
Top with some of the grated cheese and eat.