Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Brown October

[Life, October 3, 1955.]

When I found this ad (by chance, natch), I suspected that there’s more to an Ann Page Bean Bake than meets the eye. And I don’t mean the dish’s invisible ingredients (onion, oregano, and “salad oil”). I mean the phrase “brown October.” It comes from John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1866 poem “Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl”:
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And close at hand the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.
This poem of course was once beloved, wildly popular stuff. (And no doubt still is, here and there.) I assume the ad involves an allusion, meant to be recognized. You can keep brown October’s Bean Bake, but pass the cider and nuts, please.

Related posts
Alkalize with Alka-Seltzer (and James Russell Lowell)
Blue October (and Helen Hunt Jackson)

comments: 3

Pete said...

I can't help admire an era in which a national supermarket chain advertising in a mainstream magazine would intentionally allude to a Whitter poem from the prior century, and reasonably presume that readers would get the hint.

Michael Leddy said...

I would imagine that many a reader would have memorized a chunk of the poem in grade school. Would anything have similar resonance today?

Elaine said...

Well, I was made to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution, but I can't come up with a recipe that would tie it in...

And then there was William Cullen Bryant's -Thanatopsis- (and again, no recipe suggests itself, which is perhaps just as well.)