An A to Zed of the USA by a European Nomad – K and L

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I am a linguist and logophile; I collect words like others collect works of art. I love discovering words in English or another language that somehow capture a meaning to perfection. One of my favorite American words is klutz for its onomatopoeic klout. 

If you’re awkward and clumsy, you can call yourself a klutz. If a klutz is carrying a tray of wine glasses across the kitchen, you can be sure she”ll trip over the dog and end up on the floor.

 Klutz is the Americanized version of the Yiddish klots, which means “block or lump,” and also “clumsy person or blockhead.” A related word in German is klotz, “boor, clod, or wooden block.”

And my favorite American klutz has to be good ole Charley Brown. 


Along with my love for words comes an enduring love of good food – 13 years living in France will do that to you. Well let me tell you that you have not lived a full American culinary life until you have experienced a Maine Lobster Bake. 

With butter dripping down your chin and wood smoke drifting through the air, you kick back in your deckchair and dig your toes into the sand, cold beer in hand. Meanwhile the seafood steams nearby in its bed of freshly harvested seaweed.

The New England Clam and Lobster Bakes date back to the days of the Pilgrims in Plymouth Massachusetts. Settlers witnessed Native Americans cooking clams over hot stones and seaweed and thus the New England Seafood Bake were born.

I confess to being a little squeamish and so I leave it to the pros to lower  the live lobsters into the steamer basket until they turn bright red. Don’t forget the boiled Maine corn on the cob and roasted onions that are so sweet you could save them for dessert…but you won’t because you’ll probably want a seasonal dish like strawberry shortcake when the berries are still warm from the gardens, along with some Gifford’s Ice Cream made close by in Skowhegan.

As you scarf down your lobster and corn with the setting sun, you’ll simply wish you had a back-up stomach handy. 

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