Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2131 Rangy

I was thinking about the word "range" recently. As in "Free Range."

I believe my first encounter, and confusion, with the word was when I heard it in the song, "Home on the Range." Where the deer and the antelope play and all that. 

I was confused because I had also heard the term in conjunction with where our family's meals were cooked. My mom called our stovetop "the range." I wasn't entirely sure where there was enough room for deer and antelope (whatever they were) to play on our cooktop.

Later, I learned the open range was where animals and cowboys roamed about seeking free fodder. I'm still not sure why the same word is used for both. 

Perhaps because there was a somewhat open flat space where food was involved. But that notion was shattered even later when we got our first microwave oven. It was called a "Radar Range." And was completely enclosed.

So today, when we use the term "free range" to describe an unenclosed situation, where animals are humanely allowed to roam free before we kill them and eat them, it's confusing again.

But "free range" does sound kind of cool. And because range still carries with it the cooking association it even sounds a little appetizing. Like it would be more savory somehow. Flavorful like you get when you cook on an open fire. When you say "free range beef" or "free range chicken" it almost gets those lips a smacking. 

Even when you say "free range chicken eggs" the flavorful association continues. It's when you get to free range chicken egg products that it starts to get weird. Like, um, "free range mayonnaise." Those bugs the chicken ate on the range not so appetizing anymore.

Or how about "free range meringue"? 

America, ya gotta love it.

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