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Vile Puns

The winner in the “Vile Puns” category of the 2021 Bulwer-Lytton Contest involves a hoagie shop and a tiny pimento-stuffed object in a long, cheesy sandwich. This is part of a complete episode.

Peanut Leg

Mara, a student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo now studying at the University of North Alabama, thought Google Translate rendered the French for “peanut butter” as peanut leg. Instead of using it to translate the French word...

Episode 1548

Yak Shaving

There was a time when William Shakespeare was just another little seven-year-old in school. Classes in his day were demanding — and all in Latin. A new book argues that this rigorous curriculum actually nurtured the creativity that later flourished...

Mariachi Tacos

Caitlin calls from Laredo, Texas, to ask about the slang term for breakfast tacos popular there. Why are they called mariachis? In American Tacos: A History and Guide, José Ralat relates a story that links the name to a restaurant that prepared...

JoJo Potato Wedges

When Melissa was growing up in Tacoma, Washington, she’d walk to the corner store, where she’d pick up a corn dog and a bag of jo jos, a term for soft potato wedges with the skin left on. Researcher Barry Popik has dug up a story that...

Slushburger

Sarah from Moorhead, Minnesota, emailed a story from her early days of teaching in North Dakota. While reading the lunch menu to her students, she was flabbergasted to see that the day’s fare included something called slushburgers. She’d...