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Forklore

Gorp Your Broomstick and Pebbles

June 26, 2002|CHARLES PERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was just too good to be true: Gorp, the basic trail mix of nuts and dried fruit that many of us have grown up on, does not get its name from "good old raisins and peanuts." Almost certainly it comes from "gawp," another form of "gape," meaning to open your mouth wide. As long ago as 1913 "to gorp" already meant "to eat noisily or greedily."

In fact, it's only recently that slang terms were ever coined from the initial letters of some phrase, the way "yuppie" was coined from "young urban professional," and it's still not very common. Slang usually comes from exaggeration or wry humor--for instance, from the idea of hungry hikers "gorping" their trail mix.

Want more proof? Here are some examples of old-time lunch counter slang. Study and learn.

* Baldheaded row (booths in a restaurant)

* Broomstick and pebbles (franks and beans)

* Pitch till you win (an all-you-can-eat restaurant)

* Muffin fight (tea party)

* Fish eggs (tapioca pudding)

* Buckshot (caviar)

* Bullets (beans)

* Hunk of lead (doughnut)

* Beetle blood (ale)

* Squirrel juice (thin soup)

* Roach cake (raisin cake)

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