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May 23, 2008


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re: Westwego--I don't believe it. It's too cute, and besides who would really write "west we go"? I bet actual train car chalkers would just put a big W.
Sounds like one of those fake 'etymologies; like "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" that people like to make up when nobody really knows where a word came from.

Jenne: While I agree with you that etymologies can be made up and changed for whatever reason and that you may actually be right in this case, barring time travel to actually document the case. Westwego seems to me to be a very practical expression. If I were "f-o-b" (fresh off the boat)from France and working at a railroad switching station I would need the information that the car was " going to the west" rather than "coming from the west".
"Oxford" means "a place where cows cross the river".
However, "go" at the end of a word: Winnebago: member of northeastern native American peoples and the name of a city in Wiscosin and a motor home ; Chicago :a native American word for "stinky place" ( check Wikipedia, this may be changing, can't imagine why.) might mean that the town is trying to cover up it's real roots which might mean something not so cute. Check Wikipedia " List of Michigan county name etymologies". The section on how and why the names were changed from the original Native American words is enlightening.

Nancy: I'm not a namer or professional writer, but I do enjoy your blog and I wish I had a few packs of Saut`e Your Way",right now, just because it sounds so good!

Great name, Nancy! I loved reading your thought process. Every point makes perfect sense. If Saute Your Way doesn't make it (and it looks delish), it won't be because of the name -- it will be because it's not nukeable.

Another nice thing about the name is the (aural and even closer graphical) proximity of sauté to santé. I'm getting a subliminal message that this stuff is healthful.

@Jenne: I agree that the Westwego story has a fictitious ring to it. However, when I researched and wrote "Art of the State: Louisiana" (one of three "Art of the State" books I wrote in the 1990s), I found the story corroborated by several sources. If there's another, more accurate story, I'd love to know about it! I do know that the railroads have been responsible for other curious place names: Coalinga, in central California, sounds like an Indian name but in fact derives from "Coaling Station A."

@Jill: Thanks! Yes, persuading consumers to break the microwave habit will be the toughest marketing challenge. But people must be doing *something* with those fancy high-BTU Wolf and Viking ranges they're buying...

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