Sunday, November 3, 2013

An ancient word still serves our praise

If I had not met and married a  native Texan whose mother grew up in Itasca, Texas, I would never have learned the term, "larruping."

I had never heard it before. Many still haven't, but the  word is still in use.

It's a colloquial expression, but I found much about it on the internet, God bless it.

If something is larruping, or more likely, pronounced :larrupin', it is damn good.

In fact, according to the internet, it is excessively good.

That fits. The best food I ever ate was larrupin'. I kid you not. The word transcends class. For example, the Grand Marnier soufflé I once ate was genuinely larrupin'. Forty years later, I think of it and kind of shiver. The pomegranate cheese cake a friend made for a Christmas party two years ago was larrupin'. Another friend's delicious, gooey chocolate brownies with walnuts were, on the other hand, delicious. They didn't reach  larrupin'. I once had some alligator tail with lemon that was larrupin'. I had some green beans with Swiss cheese at a holiday meal that was so good, I skipped dessert and went back for more green beans. That was larrupin'.

It's an old-fashioned word.  I never heard it till I reached Texas. I would say, thinking about it, that it is a country person's way of saying exquisitely delicious.

I thought about the term today when my oldest son sent his daughter over with a still warm helping of beef roast, potato and carrots, in a rich sauce of commercial mushroom soup, vermouth, fresh garlic and bay leaves. I  wasn't too hungry, having eaten a light meal for supper. But the beef was tender, the carrots sweet--it was larrupin'.

Another component exists. Larrupin' means it not only tastes good in a bite, but in the many bites after that the hunger rises from the wonderful taste. Larrupin' means that after you have tasted and fed, you tummy is very happy. Very. Not necessarily overfull, but happy.

We all know what that is like.

My dogs are not gourmets.  They enjoy their Purina dog chow with either broth or 2% fat milk. They enjoy it. Every so often, I have leftover beef or chicken stew, and I give them a dollop with their meal. By dog standards, that is larrupin'. They know how to smile.

And after I give them this treat, they smile all evening long.

Just the way I am doing now after this unexpected gift of roast beef, carrots and potato in such a wonderful gravy. Yum!

And that is the true meaning of larrupin'.


clairz said...

I love words and especially local/regional sayings.It gives me hope that they live on in spite of the influence of television and the fact that people move all over the place.

I'm working on our family history and have discovered that my mother wasn't as crazy as us kids thought when she talked the way she did, as I've come across on online dictionary of Carleton County [New Brunswick, Canada] Colloquialisms that clears up a lot of things. "B'dayduhs" for one; although they forgot to include "foller dog" and "pissant." At least now I know why I use the word "spleeny" with such glee!

Your talk of larrupin' also made me think of wallopin' which was another thing all together; a word used as a threat to keep us in line during my childhood!

charlotte g said...

Okay, what's "B'dayduhs? And spleenys?

Funny thing about "larruping'"--I have a friend who grew up less than 100 miles from the woman who taught me this word--and she has never heard it before.
Do you have the opportunity to listen toe the NPR show, "A Way with Words"? They track words every week.