Fricassee of Words – The Apple of My Eye

Fricassee: Meat cut into pieces and stewed in gravy.

Fricassee of Words: Musings on food-inspired expressions, words and word play, with occasional bits and pieces of kitchen jargon too.

Don’t stir the pot, go fry an egg, two eggs in a basket are better than one hen in the bush… you get the picture by now, and here is today’s food-inspired expression for us to pick at.

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With Valentine’s Day approaching, it seemed appropriate to consider the following expression: The Apple of My Eye

Meaning – Someone or something that one likes a lot or likes more than others.

There is some debate over the translation of the original Hebrew reference to this expression. It appears numerous times in the Bible. One instance, in Zechariah 2:8, can be translated as meaning “Little man of the eye”. It is also translated to “Apple of the eye,” depending on one’s interpretation of the nuances in the use of words in the original text.

The reference to the little man of the eye is of interest as it brings to mind the tiny reflection of yourself that you might see in another person’s pupil when speaking face to face. Sir Walter Scott gives this analogy its full significance when he uses the expression in Old Mortality (1816): “Poor Richard was to me as an eldest son, the apple of my eye.”

Shakespeare also used the expression when he wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream (circa 1590). His reference mentions cupid himself: “Flower of this purple dye/ Hit with Cupid’s archery / Sink in apple of his eye”.

The apple of your eye, then, is the person who leaves such an impression upon coming into sight that it is as though their image had pierced through your pupil to imprint itself directly upon the mind, heart and soul. The apple represents a feast set upon a table; one it is impossible to resist.

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