|Cobb Salad: http://bit.ly/1jjy9al|
The Hollywood Brown Derby is the purported birthplace of the Cobb Salad, which was said to have been hastily arranged from leftovers by owner Bob Cobb for showman and theater owner Sid Grauman. It was chopped fine because Grauman had just had dental work done, and couldn't chew well.
That is an entertaining, if possibly apocryphal, bit of information on the origin of the Cobb salad.
On researching the Brown Derby, I learned that there were eventually four Brown Derby restaurants in L.A.:
Wilshire Boulevard (the original, opened in 1926, and shaped like a derby hat), Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Los Feliz. These restaurants figured prominently in Hollywood of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Stars flocked there to eat, and star-watchers flocked there to see them. Sadly, the restaurants had all closed by the 1980s.
|Brown Derby: http://bit.ly/1iREOG2|
After researching the salad name, I began to wonder about other cobb- and cob-related words. There are several. First is the surname Cobb, which is thought to have come from the Middle English nickname or personal name Cobbe/Cobba, related to Old Norse Kobbi. All of these are thought to derive from a word that meant "lump" — lump in this sense referred to a large (round) man. This was curious, but interesting. However, it got more interesting when I looked up cob. I knew this word to refer to horses, male swans, and to (sweet) corn, but the first sense in the OED is "a great man, big man, leading man" (from as early as 1420). What could horses, swans, and corn have to do with big men or leaders?
|Welsh cob: http://bit.ly/1gqO4Sa|
There are several other meanings of cob that include the round sense (some of these are dialectic): the stone of a fruit; a testicle; a small stack of hay; a knot of hair; a lump of coal; an apple dumpling. Then there is cobblestone, referring to the rounded shape of the stones. Cobble in that sense is a diminutive form of cob. The head sense is found in an obsolete meaning of cob: "the head of a (red) herring."
How about the UK expression cobblers for "nonsense"? That is apparently from rhyming slang: cobbler's awls = "balls" (testicles) or "rubbish." As I've tweeted before, Americans are not very familiar with rhyming slang, but we do use a bit. Here's that tweet:
Americans do use rhyming slang:raspberry (raspberry tart=fart) & dukes ([put up your] dukes=hands (Duke of York=fork (fork=slang for hand))).
The shorthand and somewhat cramped style of the above quotation were employed to keep the length at 140 characters or fewer, the cardinal rule of Twitter.
There are other words that start with cob-. What about cobalt? It is not related to those above. It, instead, comes from German Kobold "goblin". Early German miners named it thus because the mineral occurred with arsenic and sulfur, which often made the miners ill. Further, as an impurity, it lessened the value of the silver ore being mined. The miners attributed cobalt's presence to mischievous goblins. Several etymologies of the German word have been suggested: that it derives from kuba-walda or "ruler of the house"; that it comes from kofewalt "a spirit controlling one room"; and that it comes from German elements meaning "spirit of the pigsty." German supernatural creatures appear to have been quite specialized!
|A cobra: http://bit.ly/1iRH7ch|