Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Soup to nuts / Ab ova ad malum

Q: Have you ever heard the expression "soup to nuts" and what does it mean?

A1: I tend to think about it as "a full course eating experience". You start out with soup or salad and then you end up with a dessert that could consist of something like nuts. When I visit a buffet table, it's a similar thing... I can start out with appetizer and finish with a dessert item. 

A2: Origin of the phrase is from formal dinners that started with a soup course and ended with the last course being a plate of mixed nuts.

They're the courses in a (Victorian?) formal banquet. Soup is the first course, and the nuts are served with the brandy and cigars as the gentlemen retire to the billiards room.

A3: "ab ova ad malum" (Latin) which means from eggs to apples - much the same idea of a complete dinner from appetizers to desserts. 

A4: It means from the very beginning to the very end, including everything in between.


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