Monday, November 22, 2010

The Delectable Fig-Fag

The term "faggot" was not used as a pejorative term for a gay person until 1914, and the shortened form "fag" was not used until 1921, according to this online etymology dictionary.

This ad is from the March 11, 1897 Ypsilantian. Therefore DD presumes that the word "fag" used here refers to the older meaning of "bundle of sticks." I'm guessing that this product came as a roll of crushed figs wrapped in paper. Ten cents please.

"The new Fruit Food" does not have a manufacturer's name appended to its description. DD finds this interesting. DD speculates whether Kief and Meanwell's got a great deal on ten crates of bruised figs in Detroit, toted it home, and set up a washtub and a potato masher in back of the store. Sprinkle in a little corn starch, roll out a glob on the table, wrap it in paper, et voila! The world will beat a path to Kief and Meanwell's door for "Fig-Fag"!

Sadly, "Fig-Fag" never caught on. Perhaps the closest we'll ever get to experiencing it is the mush inside Fig Newtons. This March 11 ad for "Fig-Fag" appears to be the only such "Fig-Fag" ad that ever appeared in the paper. It is absent from succeeding editions of the Ypsilantian.

Kief and Meanwell may have meant well, but one wonders if their assessment of what constitutes desirable edibles might have been a bit off. Kind readers may recall that this grocer's was the enterprise that previously brought us the dainty known, briefly, as "Breakfast Fish Balls."

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