Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fancy Bread

I have been thinking about all the language misunderstandings I have had. One of the greatest of my lifetime even involved a life-long search: In the 1970's Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka says, "Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the head?" I thought he meant bread, not bred. So I concluded everyone had this magic loaf of fancy bread in themselves. Some people have their fancy bread in the heart, some in their head. Now I took this to mean that those who had it in the head were more intellectual and the ones with fancy bread in their hearts were more emotional. I thought this was a serious philosophical question posed by Willy Wonka that one needed to sort out. I thought about it for years and decided my fancy bread existed in my head.
I then decided that maybe there was a real type of bread called "Fancy Bread" that the quote was based on. I looked for it in bakeries, but had no luck. Then I decided it most be a European thing. So every county we visited, I tried to make a point of going into bakeries to find it. I imagined Fancy Bread being something that I would most likely find in Greece or Eastern Europe. I thought it would have the braids across the top and be very large and golden. I even thought that Fancy Bread most be some pedestrian name for it and that is why I couldn't find it. It was only a few years ago that I figured out what he meant, or that I allowed myself to come back to earth with the phrase.

Another misunderstanding I had my whole childhood and into my adult years was the Christmas Carol, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." The line, "Now bring us a figgy pudding..." I always thought was, "Now bring us a piggy pudding." Again, I attributed this to some strange European dish. I really thought it must be a British thing. Once again, I keep an eye out for Piggy Pudding when we traveled in England. I imaged it would be a horrible jello-like pig blood thing. It would be ruby red, round, and served on a huge silver tray with little greens all around it. Of course, I never found such a thing. It was only when I was singing the song once within earshot of my husband and he gleefully corrected me.

The word "ilk" I thought was "elk." So for example someone would say, "Religious right politicians and others of their ilk..." It made sense for the word to be elk. I thought it meant others of the same type herd.

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