Is there chicken in chick peas?

by Alex on Feb.25, 2010, under Blog


Immortal words to those who watched Big Brother 2 nine years ago, words that I’m sure caused cringe much of the watching population of Wales, especially Cwmbran (Hey, that’s my home town!) from whence Helen (the owner of the above quote) came and I’m sure still comes.

The widely-cited across the t’interweb etymology of the word chickpea puts to rest thoughts of any ostensible linguistic link between the two non-genetically related foodstuffs:

The name chickpea traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). This may have been taken from the Armenian word սիսեռ (siser) which refers to the bean. This is probable because Armenian was spoken throughout the northern Middle East in the areas where evidence of the first cultivation of the beans has been found. The Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1548 citation that reads, “Cicer may be named in English Cich, or ciche pease, after the Frenche tonge.”

But lo, what is this? Take a closer look and you’ll see that the question ‘Is there chicken in chick peas?’ is totally redundant. Chick peas are hactually chickens, tiny little miniature baby frozzen chickens. Look!

I can’t believe that I’ve only just noticed this, being the cookingophile that I am. I wonder what new scientific discoveries would await me were I only to open my eyes…


2 Comments for this entry

  • Matthew Cole

    Hmm… but in a number of American countries they’re called garbanzo beans. So is there garbage in garbanzo?

  • Alex

    Were they to look like small trash cans slash rubbish bins then you might have been on to something…

    From Wikipedia:

    The word garbanzo came to English as “calavance” in the 17th century, from Old Spanish (perhaps influenced by Old Spanish garroba or algarroba). The Portuguese arvançu has suggested to some that the origin of the word “Garbanzo” is in the Greek erebinthos. But the Oxford English Dictionary notes that some scholars doubt this; it also mentions a possible origination in the word garbantzu, from Basque — a non-Indo-European tongue — in which it is a compound of garau, seed + antzu, dry.

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