Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2190 Bella Dolce

I get curious about words. Sometimes words I've heard before and only now start wondering about. Sometimes new words that get me curious right away.

Take the word dulcet. Someone recently said she had heard the dulcet tones of an announcer's voice on the radio. I've heard that phrase for most of my life and always kind of assumed it meant bell-like. Early on I must have heard someone refer to the dulcet tones of a bell. 

Well, it was the descriptor not the object. Dulcet comes from the Middle English doucet, and eventually goes back to the root Latin word for sweet. Like the Italian word for sweets or desserts, dolce.

The dictionary says, "Sweet or pleasing to the taste or ear. Something agreeable generally." Perhaps like the next word I encountered just recently, muffuletta. 

On the face of it, muffuletta sounds like another of those musical terms, like fortissimo or andante. Perhaps an indication on the score that you are supposed to play the next musical passage muffled and subdued. 

Or maybe a muffuletta is like an Italian scarf or muffler. But smaller and more stylish of course. "What a beautiful muffuletta you're wearing." 

Then there's the obvious thing you think of when anything has the word muff in it. It has to do with muffin. So perhaps it's like an English muffin, but a French or Italian muffin, and smaller of course because of the diminutive suffix "-etta." 

Which, actually, is closer to the truth. A muffuletta, as I'm sure you already know, is an Italian submarine sandwich, but made on round bread rather than the long oval hoagie shape. It's been described as beautiful to look at and pleasing and agreeable generally.

What a tasty muffuletta. A dulcet sandwich. Bella dolce.

America, ya gotta love it. 

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