June 28, 2004

Scouse is getting scouser

So says Kevin Watson, quoted in an article in the Liverpool Echo.

You can listen to some scouse examples in a .swf animation by Patrick Honeybone.

According to Mike Kemble's " Lernin' Yerself Scouse" page,

Scouse - or to give it its full title, Lobscouse, is of course a food rather than a dialect; it is the native dish of the Liverpudlian, or Scouser. Scouse is to Liverpool what Bouillabaisse is to Marseilles or Schnitzel is to Vienna.

I'd heard the term "scouse" for the Liverpool dialect, but did not know this etymology, which the OED agrees with, and fans of Patrick O'Brian will be happy to learn about -- if they've previously shared my ignorance of the lobscouse/Liverpool connection, at least. Kemble describes scouse as follows:

A simple stew made from the cheapest cuts of meat, usually mutton, boiled with potatoes and onions. The meat ingredient is optional, without which the Scouse becomes Blind Scouse. Either kind is eaten with red cabbage pickled in vinegar. However, like the years of poverty, Scouse is now part of the history and the visitor to Liverpool will search in vain for a restaurant that serves Liverpool's own dish, although it is sometimes possible to find Irish Stew, a direct ancestor, on bills of fare. The author found in a German Cookery Book the following translated recipe.

Labskaus (Sailors dish, original recipe)
Boil a piece of fairly lean salt beef (or equal quantities of beef and ham) till soft and chop it into coarse pieces. Meanwhile boil some potatoes in unsalted water and add a great quantity (!) of small onions which have been braised in butter. Mash all of this together, season with pepper and pour over it enough of the meat stock to produce a mash of soft consistency. This simple dish is extremely tasty and nourishing, especially when taken with pickled cucumber and a glass of beer.

Posted by Mark Liberman at June 28, 2004 09:00 PM