Home » Food and Meals » Cheek “Buccal” vs. Belt “Buckle” vs. Dessert “Buckle”

Cheek “Buccal” vs. Belt “Buckle” vs. Dessert “Buckle”

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The adjective buccal refers to “pertaining to the cheek,” as in a buccal muscle of the face. The Latin word for “cheek” bucca also led to Latin buccula, “the cheek strap of a metal helmet,” then to a “pointed knob on a shield.” In Old French, the word for that projection became bouclé, and eventually applied to “spiked metal ring for holding a belt,” the source of the English word for such a fastener, buckle. The related Middle English verb, bokelen, meant “to bend,” or “warp,” and later “to arch the body.” This gave us the verb buckle, “to bend under the weight of something,” or “to collapse.” It’s this sense of buckle that apparently inspired the name of that crumbly fruit dessert buckle, which is particularly popular in New England. That would make it one of several foods named for what they do either during or after cooking, such as the fried meat, potatoes, and greens called bubble and squeak and the Japanese broth that sounds like shabu shabu as it cooks. Names for desserts similar to buckle include grunts, named for the sound of the stewing fruit, and slump, named for what the dessert does as it settles in the pan. This is part of a complete episode.

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