There are two sides to every story…
Phil Johnson writes:
- Cappuccino, you may know, is so named because its color matches the trademark hooded garment of a Capuchin monk.
- Traditionalist Catholics find the etymology mildly disrespectful, and offer a twist on a familiar coffee legend: after the Siege of Vienna (1683) was lifted, the Capuchin friar Marco d’Aviano (beatified in April 2003) invented the drink after the Ottoman Turks retreated, leaving bags of coffee beans in their tents.
It is an apt illustration that a limited perspective yields limiting results.
But hey…what do I know about coffee anyway?!?
This entry was posted on Monday, June 20th, 2005 at 4:12 pm and is filed under History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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June 21st, 2005 at 7:11 am
At last a topic upon which you are an expert.
- Main Entry: cap·puc·ci·no Pronunciation Guide
Variant(s): or cap·uc·cino
Inflected Form(s): -s
Etymology: Italian, literally, Capuchin; from the likeness of its color to that of a Capuchin’s habit — more at CAPUCHIN
: espresso coffee topped with frothed hot milk or cream and often flavored with cinnamon ; also : a cup of cappuccino
The origin of the name is made clear by the fact that in France at the beginning of the 18th century a new fashion arose in Paris (though not at Versailles) for carved wall-panelling boiseries that were left in their natural color (almost invariably oak) rather than being painted and gilded as in the previous century. The new mode, which coincided with the height of the controversy over Jansenisme that was dividing the tout Paris in stylish religious pamphleteering, was wittily termed à la capucine in reference to the brown color of the robes worn by the Capuchin order of Franciscan friars. This color-coded etymology is followed by the Oxford English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary. The order of Capuchins was, in turn, named for the capucize (cappuccio), or long pointed cowl, worn by the friars. Similarly, the cream on a well-made cappuccino covers the beverage as a sort of cappuccio.
As for limited perspective, citing a source properly (which is to say, substancially in order to represent it adequately) helps one to have a balanced perspective.
I'll add here that Kevin Johnson did, in fact, link to Wilipedia in his citation, so perhaps I am being too hard on him. However, I think that to cite what he cites as a right-minded alternative to Pastor Johnson's correct assessment of the etymology of cappuccino is, in the best case, optimistic.