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About Tang
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2011/10/15
6:21pm
Hokudai
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The grandmother can't be writing about the powdered orange drink Tang in 1947 because it wasn't created until about 1957 and not made available commercially until a couple of years later (1959) and made famous by John Glenn in 1963. (General Foods Corporation food scientist William A. Mitchell).

I wouldn't be surprised if it was a cheap cut of meat (adding sugar to improve the taste) ala "To Kill a Mockingbird."

2011/10/15
7:27pm
Ron Draney
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I caught myself wondering, since the original reference was only in writing, if it might be an abbreviation for something. First thing that came to mind was "tangerine", then "tangle".

2011/10/25
9:29pm
Aodhan of Lindisfarne
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Tongue?

2011/11/27
10:56am
cougar2shoes
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Hi Guys,

 

I guess I am the only "wordie" who is also a diver.  Tang is a member of the family Acanthuridae.  It is also known as Surgeonfish.  It is a Kosher fish and gets listed with its cousins…Surgeonfishes (Family Acanthuridae). Including: Surgeonfishes and tangs (Acanthurus species, Zebrasoma species); Doctorfish (Acanthurus chirugus); Unicornfishes or kalas (Naso species). Although nowadays, you are more likely to see them on a dive trip or in an aquarium than in the market, they aren't exactly rare. They are common in South America, the Caribbean and Hawaii.  It's an easy stretch to imagine you might catch them in the Gulf of Mexico, at least before big oil.  I believe it is safe to assume that in your grandmother's day it was more common as a meal than it is today.

 

Regards to all,

2011/11/28
6:24am
Glenn
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You may well be the only one of us who is a diver, but I did remember that tang is a fish. I suggested this possibility in the main episode thread, but I was never able to confirm if the people in question were in a local area that might have access to tang.

Going All-City Episode – Tang

2011/11/28
12:37pm
cougar2shoes
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I THINK she said her grandmother was from the south.  That suggests access to fish from the Gulf of Mexico.  Back at that time, I don't think it would have been much of as stretch to expect fish that are indigenous to the Caribbean to make it up that far.  Just guessing  :>)

2011/11/28
1:04pm
Glenn
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I think we should agree that we are right, unless proven otherwise.

2011/11/29
11:00am
San Diego, California
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I think we should agree that we are right, unless proven otherwise.

Glenn, that's the inverse of how it should work, really. In this business, you have to prove your guesses in order for them to be accepted. They're not automatically accepted until disproven.

"Tang" as a fish is pure guesswork. To prove it you need to show that it appeared in cookbooks, and/or that there was commercial trade in it (does it appear in grocery store fliers?), and/or that it was a target fish for commercial fisherman (does it show up in fish price tables?). In my digging, I found no evidence to suggest that tang was ever eaten on a regular basis by anyone, anywhere, even though it is indeed occasionally mentioned as edible.

In other words, in figuring out language and word histories, it's not that the simplest explanation is most likely right. It's that the simplest explanation is most likely also wrong. Orig. unk. is the default until overwhelming evidence shows otherwise.

2011/11/29
11:24am
Glenn
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Hey Grant! Glad to hear from you.

I should be careful about kidding. I do mention above that it was a suggested possibility, and I was not able to confirm. Although, to your point of showing it in use as such, I did find and provide clear evidence of its being eaten and served in Hawaii under the Hawaiian name (see my link to the main thread above), it was a much easier search than the English tang, since tang is used with so many other, more frequent meanings in English. Maybe I will take the time to swim through all the entries to find something other than Tang Pie (made with the orange powder), tangy fish sauce, and various Asian recipes!

There are fairly recent discussions and newspaper articles that discuss the dangers of eating tang (by its Hawaiian name). So clearly, it is still being eaten in areas where it can be obtained, even if it is not currently commercially available.
Discussion among spearfishers
Honolulu article on fish poisoning

And tang (as tang) it is listed as a Kosher fish here, presumably for the purposes of eating!
Kosher tang

And a reef-tank enthusiast in London who has a pet tang and reports that his fishmonger sells tang (as tang):
Fishmonger sells tang

And, finally, just for the enormity of it, an MTV brainless gen-whatever cooks and eats a tang found dead in an aquarium:
MTV video cooking tang from aquarium

2012/04/14
6:52am
Carol T
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I love to cook and the "tang" question from Mississippi intrigues me.  I thought that perhaps "tang" was a shortcut or abbreviation in the lady's calendar for the entree of the day.  Maybe the day of the week on which it was prepared yields a clue. 

If on Friday, "tang" could be "tuna and noodle goulash" as lots of people used to have fish on Friday.  It could be "tuna and noodle goulash" on any weeknight, really.   If on Monday, it could be "turkey and noodle goulash" – with the thought they had a big roast turkey for Sunday dinner and she was using the leftovers on Monday.
 

2012/04/14
11:16am
RobertB
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Off topic- An instance of grammar totally helpless to pin down exact meaning: Take Grant's statement above:    

      They're not automatically accepted until disproven

It will be completely misunderstood if you limit the scope of "not" so as to leave out "until disproven" 

And, scoping "not" that way, you can even negate the last word and still end up with a statement that closely approximates the original:

      They're not automatically accepted until proven

2012/04/15
8:07am
rjudymaga
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family used Tang for as long as I can remember for the orange favored drink.  Can't argue with 1957 start date for official use, other than it seems my grandmother often talked about somethng being tangy?  apparenty came into use many decades ago with Chinese of something with a sharp taste, and with mechanics for a piece of metal associated with gears. 

3. A projecting part of an object by means of which it is secured to a handle, or to some other part; anything resembling a tongue in form or position.
  4.The part of a knife, fork, file, or other small instrument, which is inserted into the handl e.
 
5. The projecting part of the breech of a musket barrel, by which the barrel is secured to the stock.
The projecting part of the breech of a musket barrel, by which the barrel is secured to the stock.
  6. The part of a sword blade to which the handle is fastened.
  7. The tongue of a buckle.
  1. A sharp, twanging sound; an unpleasant tone; a twang.
  1. A dynasty in Chinese history, from a. d. 618 to 905, distinguished by the founding of the Imperial Academy (the Hanlin), by the invention of printing, and as marking a golden age of literature
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