I am sorry to disappoint if the title of today’s post has misled you into thinking the story is about the Father of all Breads, or in some way associates bread with the male parent. According to Brockett’s Glossary of North Country words (England, 1825), a ‘dad of bread’ is a large piece of bread. I am not sure of the etymological process in play here, but it is said to be related to the verb ‘to dad’, meaning ‘to shake, to strike.’ I have no idea if this suggests a connection between corporal punishment and the male parent, or if there is some entirely different origin for this version of the word.
As you will be aware, if you are a regular reader, I do love words, and I particularly love finding old words for food things. The discovery of ‘dads of bread’ led me on a brief search for other dialect words for odds and ends of bread.
Brockett’s also gives:
Shive: slice, as of bread or cheese.
Counge: a large lump, as of bread or cheese.
Whang: large thick piece of anything eatable esp. bread or cheese (a word we have met before, here)
Other glossaries of archaic and provincial words give various names for slices and lumps of bread, including louner, scuncheon, shag, stunch, and stoltum – and also mussel and pocket. Small fragments of bread ‘such as children, who have more than they can eat given them, are apt to crumble or break the excess into’ are, in the old Cleveland dialect, called mamlocks – a word I like very much.
Perhaps in your own region or within your own family, you have your own word for a chunk or fragment of bread (or cheese)?
Here is something interesting to make with your dads and mamlocks:
Bread and Butter Salad.
Butter and trim the crust from four slices of bread (which should not be too fresh), and cut into dice. Have some finely chopped parsley ready, stir this through the bread lightly, a little at a time, managing to take out only what adheres to the butter. Place the bread in a low salad dish, then take a small cluster of chieve [sic], cut with a knife and scatter over, then salt and black pepper enough to brighten. Spray lightly with vinegar, not enough to soak or make it sour. Garnish with green nasturtiums. You will find this palatable in the spring, when your appetite is all gone.
The Weekly Wisconsin, May 17, 1890
Quotation for the Day.
Deliberation, n. The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.