My mom, whose mother was born in Canton Bern, Switzerland, used to make rÃ¶sti – a (yummy) fried potato dish. To start, she would boil the potatoes and refrigerate them overnight, then scrape a knife over them to remove the skin. She called this “shinting’ the potatoes. I can find nothing anywhere referring to the verb “shint”. My mother was a college grad, qualified to teach music, English and Latin. She was born in 1918. As persnickety as she was about grammar and usage and as fascinated as she was with words, I can’t imagine her using a nonexistent word! Can you help?
Rosti is basically fried shredded potatoes, in the style favored by the German-speaking communities of Basil. Shint is a surname that appears more common there.
When I was growing up, Mom would make “carbarn” sandwiches as a special treat. They were just cut diagonally into triangles, instead of straight across. Eventually, I got to asking her how it was spelled, and why other people didn’t know what cutting carbarn meant. It turns out grandpa Essex was a supervisor for the interurban, and they had a weekly party upstairs in the car barn. Grandma always brought sandwiches cut on the bias to be fancy. Today, there are hundreds of grandkids of my cousins, they all seem to think carbarn sandwiches are great, and none of them seem to know where the term came from.
I wonder if Shinting might be a family term that reflect on the particular style of Rosti, a family word. There are so many ways to make fried shredded potatoes. Waffle house hashed browns, those potato cakes that McDdonals makes, and tater tots are all basically rosti. I like to shred raw potatoes directly into a big cast iron skillet, adding diced onion greens, diced mild green peppers, dark red hungarian paprika, and a lot of minced cilantro, and fry a long time over fairly low heat, adding grated Parmesan cheese right before serving.
Family words ARE words. Shint your potatoes with pride!
Oh, and I found an 1850s article talking about shinting oxen with a goad, and an article from the WWI era talking of a doctor shinting, which apparently was dithering and dawdling,lost in his mental processes. It might be interesting to look for words starting with shin in a German dictionary. In Ethiopia, there is Shint Wabi, no idea what THAT us
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