Time to solve another linguistic mystery.
Download the MP3 here (1.3 MB).
You’re in a restaurant. You overhear a conversation at the next table. The woman says to her friend, “You know, I just love the taste of joe floggers.” And her dining companion replies enthusiastically, “Joe floggers? Oh, so don’t I!”
Okay, so where would you likely to hear people talk about the joys of joe floggers?
Well, chances are you’d probably be in…New England, most likely coastal Massachusetts or Maine. There “joe flogger” is a name denoting a variety of culinary treats. It may be a pancake stuffed with plums, or it may be a kind of doughnut. They’re sometimes known as joe froggers or simply frogs. And, as is typical with many food names, “joe frogger” also does double duty as the term for yet another confection: a large, molasses-flavored cookie.
So how about the enthusiastic expression “So don’t I!“? This odd construction actually expresses agreement, not disagreement. For example, someone might say, “I like ice cream,” to which you’d reply, “So don’t I!” meaning “I do, too!”
It’s been called “the Massachusetts negative-positive.” But the truth is that “So don’t I!” is found in pockets throughout New England. And its origins remain a puzzle.
Speaking of puzzles, I’ll be back with another linguistic mystery next time. In the meantime, I’d love to know what regional expressions jumped out at you the first time you heard them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to try baking your own batch of joe froggers? Here’s a recipe.
Umm Umm Good. This episode really took me back to my New England childhood. It made me curious about the name, though, and I found a wonderful history of the “Old Joe” who gives these cookies the Joe part of their name. Well worth reading.
When I first read the synopsis of this episode, I sputtered, “Flogger? It's Frogger for heavens sake!” I felt a tad sheepish when you went on to mention “frogger”. I grew up in Marblehead and was always told it was a closely gaurded townies-only recipe. I had no idea they were available anywhere else or had other names. They were a very popular cookie of my childhood, along with hermits (which I disliked cause they had raisins in them).
The other part of this episode that gave me pause was the “so don't I” bit. I had never realized how odd that must sound until you mentioned it. I literally paused mid-step to consider if I used that phrase (I do). I mentioned it to my co-worker (a transplant from Florida) and while we figured I must have used it before, it doesn't sound odd until you actually point it out. Funny that.
Enjoyable as always, thanks guys!
Lychee, you just made my day. This is exactly what I love about looking at regionalisms — the fact that “So don't I” could sound so natural to you, and so weird to, well, me. I'm still smarting over Yankees laughing at me when I talked about “tumping” something over! 🙂
I'm not familiar with hermits. What are they, exactly?
here's a link for recipes for both the Joe Froggers and the hermits I remember
Thank you…as a New Yorker now living in coastal New England, I’ve been startled by “So don’t I!” on many recent occasions. (And I just discovered “A Way with Words.”)
I also wanted to note that (like most people probably) I usually just nod and click without really registering the language upon receiving a “cookies must be enabled to view this” error message. It did, however, catch my attention to get that pop-up when I clicked on the link to the hermits and Joe Froggers recipe!
Ookpik, glad to hear you confirm the “So don’t I!” locution. I’ve only read about it. Oh, and we once had a caller to the show who was amused by her husband’s use of it. But otherwise, I’ve not heard it used in everyday conversation. (Where in coastal New England, btw.)
And LOL about the cookies.
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