Crime and Patisserie

What was that thumping? My heart. I jerked awake from a dream of going over some kind of effing cliff.  Then I heard the thump, rattle, clatter of a can being kicked down the road.

My head fizzled with sparks of color and a mash-up of “Gangnam Style,” “Auld Lang Syne” and the “Anvil Chorus.” Was it a migraine or a vague memory of having too much fun?

I filled the coffeemaker to capacity and rummaged through the fridge for anything that looked edible – hell! – anything that looked recognizable. At this point I couldn’t be too discriminating.

I might have better luck with the freezer, I thought. Bingo! I uncovered a snail – the pastry kind, not the mollusk. I extracted it from frost-coated plastic bag and popped it in the microwave.

snail pastry

After an injection of caffeine and sugar brought my brain into gear, I scrolled through the messages on my phone. Something made me look back at the odd note from the Boss Lady. Well, she nailed it; Rice was cooked, all right. But the B.L. was cooked too. She had no chance of knocking out John Kerry’s bid to be secretary of state. Unless she had some kind of sleazy swift boat tactic up her sleeve. That would be a crime.

handcuffsWait. I told myself I couldn’t be discriminating, but that’s just what she asked me to be. Was discriminate etymologically related to discretion? Uh-huh. According to the OED, discriminate comes from Latin discrīmināt- participial stem of discrīmināre to divide, separate, distinguish, from discrīmen , -crīmin- division, distinction, < stem of discernĕre to distinguish.

And what’s this? A cross-reference to crime! Whaddya know? Crime comes; by way of Anglo-Norman, Old French and Middle French crime; from classical Latin crīmen meaning ‘charge, accusation, matter for accusation or blame, reproach, offense, misdeed,’ from cernere ‘separate, decide’ + -men (a variant of the suffix -ment).

Well, the new year was starting out right. I had already polished off crime. And a scrumptious raisin pastry.

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2 Responses to Crime and Patisserie

  1. Dana F. Barraclough says:

    Yipes, my education in all things early-morning-edible is sadly lacking.  To wit, I’ve never been aware of a pastry called a “snail”  (whether with raisins or without).  I’m familiar with edible snails, but of the escargot tribe that come with shells but no raisins.  Where can I find pastry snails?  What is their raison (raisin) d’etre?

    Dana Barraclough

    >________________________________ >From: Lexie Kahn: Word Snooper >To: dfbarraclough@yahoo.com >Sent: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 11:59 AM >Subject: [New post] Crime and Patisserie > >WordSnooper.com posted: “What was that thumping? My heart. I jerked awake from a dream of going over some kind of effing cliff.  Then I heard the thump, rattle, clatter of a can being kicked down the road. My head fizzled with sparks of color and a mash-up of “Gangnam Style” >

  2. Huh! I always thought “snail” was a New York expression, but http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/snail says: “Midwestern and Western U.S. a sweet roll in spiral form, especially a cinnamon roll or piece of Danish pastry.” I always called them Danishes. When I was in Madrid the gal in the pastry shop didn’t understand my request for a “danés.” When I pointed she told me it was a “caracol [snail].”

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