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Old 04-15-2009, 01:58 PM   #1
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: E. Pa.
Posts: 8,281
Eat One's Hat

Eat One's Hat

Many a man engaged in a contest of some sort has offered to eat
his hat if he loses. In such a situation a knowledge of etymology would
be of great value - for the expression "eat one's hat" once referred not
to a Stetson or a Panama, but to a culinary product.

Napier's famous "Boke of Cookry," one of the earliest European
cookbooks, gives the following directions: "Hattes are made of eggs,
veal, dates, saffron, salt, and so forth." In the hands of amateur
cooks, the concoction was frequently so unpalatable that it required a
strong stomach to eat it.

Even so, the early braggart who offered to eat a hatte had in
mind nothing so distasteful as a felt or a straw.

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