Allie (cosmicautumn) wrote in prouvaire,

my life is enriched

Here's a useless factoid from a rambling story about plants, that claims that the word "coleslaw" originated with Hugo:

"Have you given any thought to who Mr. Cole was and why he should be honored by having chopped up vegetables named after him? Well, this question is a red herring. The mixture of cabbage, vinegar, salt and pepper was not named after anyone. The word “cole" is derived from the Saxon word “cawel," which came from an earlier Latin word meaning kale, or cabbage. According to the OED, coleslaw (spelled “coleslaugh") was first used in print in 1862 by Victor Hugo in “Les Miserables." (Incidentally, since “slaugh" or “slaw" means a salad made from sliced cabbage, “coleslaw" is redundant.)"

I can't find anything to verify this. Anyone?
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No...and it seems strange that a search on 'coleslaugh' or 'coleslaw' with 'les miserables' only turns up this article, since there are online versions of the novel in French and English, so if the word appeared in the novel, it should turn up in a search.

The common derivation I've found online is that "Coleslaw" comes from the German Kohlsalat, which means "cabbage salad." I don't own a copy of the OED.
I wouldn't know anything about the origin of the word "coleslaw", but I've noticed it in my edition of Charles Wilbour's translation. So if that is indeed the first use of the word, it should be attributed to Wilbour.
It appears near the end, in "The Last Flickerings of the Exhausted Lamp" during the part when Valjean is arguing with his portress:

"I will eat to-morrow."
"Or at Christmas! Why not eat to-day? Do people say: I will eat to-morrow! To leave me my whole plateful without touching it! My cole slaw, which was so good!"

In French:

"Je mangerai demain."
"Ou à la Trinité. Pourquoi pas aujourd’hui? Est-ce qu’on dit: Je mangerai demain! Me laisser tout mon plat sans y toucher! Mes viquelottes qui étaient si bonnes!"

It has nothing to do with cabbage, though. There's a note about "viquelottes": Variété de pomme de terre. So...mistranslation, I guess?