omelet /’ɒmlɪt/

My older and more culinarily challenged daughter is able to make only a small selection of meals. Broccoli-cheese soup is probably her masterwork but close behind is the cheese omelet. OK, so maybe there is a little effort involved in the post-omelet phase, when I have to scrape burnt cheddar from the pan and then soak it for three days before it can be used again. Alternatively, I believe a burst of napalm would also remove caked-in fromage but fortunately I don’t have easy access to such kitchen equipment.

Omelet

Omelet

An omelet (or omelette depending on how much more effort you want to put into your writing) is, of course, made by whipping up eggs in a hot pan and tossing in any odd bits of food you may have lying around in the refrigerator.

But the actual word has nothing to do with eggs but the method of cooking – using a thin, flat pan. In the 14th century, references can be found to an alumelle or alemelle, which is literally a thin plate like “the blade of a sword or knife.” The word became alemette and alumette in the 15th century.

Other variations include aumelet, amulet, ammulet, and aumulet. As you can see, spelling was not always a big thing many years ago. You can even use it as a verb to describe the process of making into an omelet: “I don’t want to be omeletted!” (from the Westmorland Gazette, 6th October, 1908).

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