Thursday, September 23, 2010

"I've Got Zucchini, and I'm not Afraid to Use Them!"

Here is the latest report on the coexistence between man (or, in this case, woman) and nature, courtesy of BBC News (where else?):

A woman from the US state of Montana has fought off a 200lb (91kg) black bear with a courgette from her garden.

The bear attacked one of the woman's dogs on the back porch of her home late on Wednesday evening, Missoula County Sheriff's Lt Rich Maricelli said.

When the woman tried to stop the attack, the bear bit into her leg.

The woman, whom police have not named, grabbed the closest object - a courgette from her garden - and threw it at the bear, causing it to flee.

For those not familiar with the noun, "courgette" is what the British call the zucchino, whose plural is "zucchini." I'm not quite sure why they prefer the French version to the Italian. Those interested in this terminological division can find an explanation on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the explanatory paragraphs are marked as unsourced material (lacking adequate support through citation):

Zucchini, like all summer squash, has its ancestry in the Americas[citation needed]. However, the varieties of squash typically called "zucchini" were indeed developed in Italy, many generations after their introduction from the "New World".

In all probability, this occurred in the very late 19th century, probably near Milan; early varieties usually included the names of nearby cities in their names. The alternate name courgette is from the French word for the vegetable, with the same spelling, and is commonly used in France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It is a diminutive of courge, French for squash. "Zucca" is the Italian word for squash and "zucchina" is its diminutive, becoming "zucchine" in the plural. However, "zucchino", the masculine form, becoming "zucchini" in the plural, is just as commonly used and is prevalent in Tuscany.

Whether the bear fled out of fear of further projectile zucchini or because it wanted to chase after food has not yet been established. However, all Italian restaurants in Missoula County should take note and act accordingly.

No comments: