Share every sharing choices for: What is the beginning of the tune “There’s a ar in France/Where the naked females dance?” are bay leaves poisonous?


Dear Cecil:

Everyone is familiar with the tune that goes, \"There\"s a location in France wherein the naked ladies dance.\" What\"s the beginning of this secret song and also its look at Egyptian melody?

young name C. Arno, via e-mail


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Illustration by slug Signorino

Cecil replies:

Egyptian, friend say? not a chance. Middle Eastern at least? us can’t rule it out, yet the proof is thin. Shot midwestern — special, Chicago circa 1893. We’re not sure who the composer was, however we do understand the pivotal figure in drawing attention to this unforgettable song (which, recognize it, is running through your head ideal now). That wasn’t some eunuch in a caliph’s court, yet rather a California impresario (and later new York congressman) called Sol Bloom.

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Bloom was in charge of entertaining the rustics at the 1893 world’s Columbian Exposition. His assignment: collection up one amusement park exterior the main fairgrounds together a counterpoint come the an ext highbrow offerings inside. Situated on a tree-lined venue recognized as Midway Plaisance, what came to be known as the Midway to be a huge success — the sideshow section of state fairs and also such has been dubbed a midway ever since. Bloom added one of the greatest attractions himself, namely a traveling Algerian town he’d obtained the legal rights to that had been an initial shown in ~ the Paris Exposition that 1889. The village was a hit mainly because it featured ship dancers, previously unknown in the U.S.

Not buying Bloom’s story? this is a much more plausible scenario: he swiped (or at least riffed on) a traditional melody play by the Algerians, and also songwriters who later on saw the show at the Midway did likewise. In his Book of World-Famous Music, James J. Fuld says the tune’s opening five notes are identical to those of “Colin Prend Sa Hotte,” which appears in a French songbook indigenous 1719. According to Fuld, a 19th-century compendium the old tunes referred to as Echos du Temps Passé lists “Colin Prend Sa Hotte” together a dance song and says “the first phrase the the melody resembles nearly note for keep in mind an Algerian or Arabic melody recognized as Kradoutja has been renowned in France since 1600.” that can’t be shown as no printed version of “Kradoutja” is known to exist. Everything the facts, let’s give an old BSer his due: Bloom introduced the tune to America, if just by payment the fare.

Dear Cecil:

Ever due to the fact that I was a child I’ve heard that it’s okay to usage a only leaf together seasoning in cooking however if friend eat the leaf itself the poisonous. That never ever made feeling to me. Why would certainly moms put deadly poisons in their food preparation that could be accidentally eaten?

— lining Devlin, Toronto, Ohio

Cecil replies:

Shrewd thinking, Chuck. You’re ideal — bay pipeline aren’t poisonous. Cooks remove them before serving since they don’t get soft unless you chef the bejesus the end of them, and no one wants a bay sheet shard stuck in between their teeth. But there room still situations in which you should fret.

Once woven right into wreaths signifying assorted honors, the fragrant pipeline of the only laurel tree, Laurus nobilis, have actually been offered in cooking and medicine for hundreds of years with couple of ill effects. Some human being can get dermatitis from picking the leaves, and I heard about some mexico specimens being infected v bacteria the could reason intestinal distress, but in its entirety they’re about as safe as any other typical kitchen herb.

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What can get you right into trouble is the bay pipeline look lot like the pipeline of their much less edible relatives, such together the California only laurel (Umbellularia californica), and unrelated and also definitely inedible shrubs and trees such together the cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). The fragrant leaves of the California just laurel have been recognized to reason skin rashes and probably do not do it be cooking with, despite they sometimes are. The cherry laurel is downright poison — its pipeline contain a deadly compound of glucose and prussic acid. In 1783 an English alchemist, James Price, intentionally drank a fatal mixture prepared from cherry laurel leaves after the been tested by the Royal culture to prove he had transmuted mercury right into silver and also gold. You want to tempt fate with fresh herbs plucked native the forest, be my guest. Otherwise stick through the version that come in a tin.