Wednesday, October 20, 2010




: consisting of a confused mixture : formed of various materials in no fixed order or arrangement

Since the inception of this blog, Merriam as given me two other words that suggest a heterogeneous mixture of some sort—olla podrida (June 6) and omnium-gatherum (April 17)—not to mention farrago, the basis for the above word, which appeared on the first day of my three-week hiatus.

I'm not sure what else I have to say on the subject of hodgepodge. Maybe the prevalence of these words is a nationalistic thing, speaking to the whole "melting pot" concept. There is something aesthetically pleasing about variety. I do enjoy mismatched furniture over the standard couch-recliner-end-tables set. Perhaps it keeps the eye busy, entertained.

FARRAGINOUS is a bit different since its Latin root refers particularly to the mixture of various grains in cattle feed. According to Grain Millers, manufacturers of conventional and organic whole grains ingredients, the list of grains common to livestock feed is extensive: sesame meal, alfalfa meal, barley, canola meal, corn, soybean oil, flax, hominy, linseed, milo, molasses, oat groats, oat hulls, oat meal, peas, rye, and wheat. Trail mix for cows.

I recently had a conversation with a regular customer of mine in the bakery where I work concerning a new granola we started carrying. The toasted mix is made by a company called Terra breads, specializing in artisan breads, rustic pastries and granola. I enjoy their recipe—a mix of whole grains, oats, cashews, almonds, coconut, cranberries, raisins, dates, and honey. The customer, on the other hand, thought the FARRAGINOUS concoction was a little over the top.

It has everything but the kitchen sink, he commented.

The above idiom derives from the idea of bringing everything possible on a trip, with the exception of large and cumbersome items like, say, the kitchen sink.

Terra Breads, however, is onto something. People are attracted to things that are defined as hodgepodge. Case in point: dollar stores, buffet-style dinners, and compilation albums.

Nothing like an organized mess.

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