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
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
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.