Monday, August 15, 2016

That’s No Yoke

A sermon by a noted man of the cloth in a recent Houston Chronicle article referred to the “yoke” of an egg.  For the record, eggs do not have yokes—unless, of course, two of them are joined together in the hope that they will somehow be able to pull a wagon or a plow. Yoke, meaning a wooden frame by which two draft animals are connected to each other, is a word that goes back a long way—to Middle English yok, Old English geoc, Latin jugum, Greek zygon, and Sanskrit yuga, all of which mean “join.”

Yolk, which is what every egg worth its salt has, is the yellow portion of a bird’s egg. Its origin also is Middle English, not yok, but yolke, which derives from Old English geoloca, which means, appropriately enough, “yellow.”

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou is quite familiar with eggs, especially the rotten kind, which have often been tossed his way.

              Whenever I eat a soft-boiled egg,
              I laugh and laugh with mirthful glee.
              I always get yellow on my lap and my leg—
              And why do I laugh? ‘Cause the yolk’s on me!

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