Lynne Murphy tells me that one of her readers at the Separated By a Common Language log alerted her to today’s New York Times, specifically a passage about a dish called “breakfast salad” at the Bushwick, Brooklyn, cafe Carthage Must Be Destroyed. Julia Moskin writes that it’s
a proper green salad, but supersized and unfurled on a warm pink plate…. It’s also enriched with a creamy-yolked boiled egg, lashings of golden olive oil, soft chunks of marinated feta and an avalanche of chives, cilantro and basil.
The notable term wasn’t “proper,” which is pretty familiar in the U.S. by now, but “lashings.” The OED says the word is originally Anglo-Irish and defines it as “‘Floods,’ abundance.” (I’m not sure why “floods”is put in quotation marks.) The first citation is from Sir Walter Scott’s journal in 1829, a reference to “whiskey in lashings.” All of the subsequent quotations are British and most are also in reference to alcoholic beverages (a 1927 Dorothy Sayers novel has the line, “Nice little dinner—lashings of champagne”). The first food-related lashings is from The Lancet in 1966: “The crusty wholemeal bread..eaten with lashings of butter.”
A nytimes.com search for “Moskin lashing” reveals that this writer is fond of the word and has used it since 2004, when she wrote that a dish at a New York Japanese restaurant is served with “lashings of mayonnaise, an American import that has become ubiquitous in Japanese fast food.”
As for me, I have been missing Australian breakfasts since I left Melbourne in January. My daughter Maria lives in Bushwick, and next visit I want to go to Carthage Must Be Destroyed. I just hope they serve
tall long blacks.