Food Names

Do you have a culinary heritage? You might not know it if you do. The name Baxter for example, means baker but in feminine form. The German word for meat resembles our word for flesh so if your name is Fleischer you had a butcher in your family. The food conglomerate Kellog was not always into cereals presumably because the name is an English derivation of Butcher. Before Protestant reform and the subsequent the popularization of coffee, beer was a much more universal beverage drunk by children and as a breakfast porridge. Hence the many Brewers, Brewsters, Bauers, and Soros’.

Tinkers made pots, Krugers are pots, Kochs were cooks, and Papps were gluttons, but there are not so many names denoting corpulence as for the svelte. If you are an Aiello, a Baines, a Boon, a Delgado, a Dreyer, a Durr, a Platt, a Smalls or a Womack you may own your lean physique to the genes of a distant relative. On the other hand genetics, the relative scarcity of food and physical occupations may have been the determining factors.

As such, numerous names–Combs, Cornett, Eckstein, Hooker, Nelissen, Tasker, Teague refer to corn which is nominally represented more than any other crop; bearing in mind that until fairly recently corn was a general term for grain and not specifically to the maize.

Likewise among the herders sheep and particularly goat predominate: Agnelli, Buckley, Cabrera, Chevrolet, Kozol, Lambert, Shepherd, Sherman, and Witherspoon being familiar examples.

Unless you have a “de” or a “von” between your name first and last names you are most likely from  peasant stock but among us rustics the vinyardists and wine makers were among the most refined, the name Winthrop being a case in point.

Zack Barowitz

About Zack Barowitz

Zack Barowitz is a writer, artist, and flâneur. He is the radio host of "This Land Is" on WMPG Tuesday nights at 7:30. His work can be seen at