edible garbage


Senior Member
I've found a few references to "garbage pye" in books about medieval cookery. More modern "garbage pie" is a term used for a pizza with an interesting variety of ingredients.

All of this mouth-watering stuff leads me to wonder about the shift in meaning of garbage from edible stuff to inedible, and recently back again.

Online Etymology Dictionary:

1422, originally "giblets of a fowl, waste parts of an animal," later confused with garble in its sense of "siftings, refuse." Many M.E. cookery terms came from Anglo-Fr., so perhaps it is related to O.Fr. jarbage "a bundle of sheaves, entrails," from P.Gmc. *garba-, from PIE *ghrebh- "a handful, a grasp." Sense of "refuse" is first attested 1583.
Has anyone got a throwaway theory about how edible garbage became so vile that people used the word to mean items not worthy of keeping?
  • pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    The definitions of offal on dictionary.com are

    1. the parts of a butchered animal that are considered inedible by human beings; carrion.
    2. the parts of a butchered animal removed in dressing; viscera.
    3. refuse; rubbish; garbage.

    However, offal is not only highly edible but is kidn of trendy in gourmet restaurants and amongst chefs for the new depression.

    It doesn't answer your question but I found it very strange to read these as the primary defintions of what I would consider tasty food.
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