“Bone” and Beyond

Two years ago, pre-covid, my daughter and my sweetheart took me out to a Spanish restaurant. One of the items we tried was “ossobuco” which google translate tells us is “braised veal” but more specifically, it is veal (calf) shank (lower leg around the tibia) braised (the meat is seared and then cooked in a broth as you see below) with vegetables, white wine and broth. Wheew, a long explanation, but ossobuco was delicious and I had a wonderful time with my two favorite women.

Milanese Ossobuco (“bone hole”)

And, as you can see by the diagram above, that dish revved up my nerdy linguistic brain. In Italian, “ossobuco” really just means “bone [osso] with a hole [buco]” because when cut into pieces, the calf’s shin bone has a hole in the middle (for the marrow). And that marrow offers the addition flavor to the broth of this fine dish.

I decided to explore “osso” which resulted in my diagram above showing how the PIE (Proto-Indo-European) word “*ost” evolved and spread over time — ending up “osso” in Italian, “bone” in English and “astkhwan” in Persian. So in this world, many apparently-different words are simply the result of slow gradual changes from the same root word. This evolution of language reminds me of the similar interconnections of apparently disparate religions due to their common root sources.

Note: For more fun, see my post and diagram on IndoEuropean languages here.

3 Comments

Filed under Philosophy & Religion

3 responses to ““Bone” and Beyond

  1. Fabiana Laffitte

    As always, your triangulations are very interesting.
    In this one, I would like to add this:In the south of South America, in Argentina, the cut of the bone of the beef hock, with its marrow and the meat that surrounds it, is called osobuco.
    And the most popular food which has ossobuco is a stew called puchero (which comes from the Latin: pultarius).

  2. John

    Its been a while…

  3. The other evolutions kind of make sense to me, but how does “ost” become “bainan”? Those roots (words?) seem about as different as possible to me, though of course such change could be the result of many small edits over time.

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