Singing Hinnies and Spotted Dicks

Would a singing hinnie, by any other name, taste as sweet?

Drew Friedman

Some dishes bear simple descriptive names—grilled T-bone steak, say. Others are tributary: peche Melba, in honor of a famous soprano; spaghetti alla puttanesca, in honor of the prostitutes of Rome. And some dishes … Well, maybe somebody was just having a bad day.

Blueberry grunt: A kind of steamed blueberry biscuit-dough cobbler, popular in New England.

Cazzetti d'angeli: Little tube-shaped Roman pasta, which apparently reminded somebody or other of, to put it bluntly, "little angel penises".

Kiopoolu: A Bulgarian vegetable stew. The name is Turkish for "son of a dog".

Maultaschen: In Swabia, in southern Germany, it's a kind of oversized ravioli with a stuffing of ground meat and parsley—but it's also German for "slap in the face".

Olla podrida: Literally, the name of this Spanish meat and vegetable stew means "putrid pot".

Singing hinnie: A baked lard and currant wafer from the north of England. (A hinnie or hinny, of course, is the offspring of a stallion and a donkey.)

Son-of-a-bitch stew: An old cowboy term for anything in a pot that isn't readily identifiable.

Spotted dick: A classic English steamed pudding made with suet and currants (the spots).

Strangolapreti: "Priest strangler"—gnocchi from northeastern Italy, supposedly so good that even holy men stuff them down gluttonously.

Vezir parmagi: Turkish for "the vezir's finger"; one of the many Middle Eastern pastries named after body parts.