Hands up - who’s heard of a mondegreen?
Nope, I hadn’t either, until I discovered the wonderful world of blogging five years ago. Obviously, the majority of blogs I read were food blogs, but I also followed a number of fascinating non-food blogs, one of which was the witty, erudite and always fascinating Language Log.
The term mondegreen was coined by American writer Sylvia Wright in her 1954 essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen”, in which Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the final line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad The Bonnie Earl O’ Murray. The stanza goes:
“Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.”
Nope, they didn’t kill 2 people. The actual fourth line is “And laid him on the green”.
A mondegreen can therefore be described as a mishearing or misinterpretation of a lyric from a song or a line from a poem, in such a way that the misheard phrase acquires a whole new (and often amusing) meaning. Some other examples include:
- “there’s a bathroom on the right” for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “there’s a bad moon on the rise”
- “the ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind” for Bob Dylan’s “the answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind”
- “my Lady Garbanzo” for Cat Stevens’ “my lady D’arbanville”
Yes folks, for many years I wondered why on earth Cat Stevens would write a song about a lady named after a chickpea (for garbanzo beans are merely chickpeas by another name). Vaguely embarrassing – but true! I was experiencing my first dalliance with the good old Lady Mondegreen a decade and a half before I even knew who she was
Mondegreens aside, chickpeas/garbanzo beans are some of my favourite pulses. You can do all kinds of fun stuff with them: stew them; smoosh them to make hummus; roast them with spices; roughly mash them to put on crostini; warm them mash them with olive oil and paprika and serve instead of mashed potatoes; or serve them in a salad.
This salad was something I whipped up for myself a few Fridays ago when I was enjoying my day off. The idea comes from a salad that I sometimes buy for lunch at work at a nearby sandwich shop, but what made this salad extra special was that I used tomatoes nd basil grown by my own fair hands. There’s no secret to this salad, other than generous amounts of basil and good olive oil. It takes all of 5 minutes to whip up, it’s delicious, it’s high protein, high fibre and low fat. Can’t really expect much more from your salad, can you?
This is my entry into the My Legume Love Affair event, founded by the lovely Susan and hosted this month by yours truly! I am still accepting entries until 31 October so hurry and get your entry in to me to stand a chance to win a prize. Full details can be found on my announcement post.
CHICKPEA SALAD WITH TOMATO, BASIL AND FETA CHEESE (serves 1-2)
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas in water
1 medium tomato
a small handful of fresh basil leaves
about 75g feta cheese, crumbled
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drain the chickpeas and decant into a bowl. Wash and dice the tomato. Rinse the basil leaves and cut up into thin strips. Mix the tomato and basil into the chickpeas, then crumble the feta into the bowl and mix again. Season with salt and pepper, then add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and serve immediately.