grenadine guards

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Hi, everyone
Could someone please tell me what's the meaning of ''grenadine guards'' in the following context, taken from "1919" by John Dos Passos. It should be noted that all these 5 fellows are members of American Ambulance Service and not soldiers.
Time: 1917
Location: France, Fontainebleau
The five of them went around together, finding places to get omelettes and pommes frites in the villages within walking distance, making rounds of the estaminets every night; they got to be known as the grenadine guards.
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It's a pun on the term grenadier guards (originally soldiers armed with grenades). A grenadine is a kind of meat dish, apparently.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Both of the above, and a kind of textile as well :)
    As an estaminet is a small (and usually shabby) cafe selling wine and beer and coffee, could there be an alcoholic beverage of some kind involving grenadine? Or were they over-indulging in meat pies :)
     

    yannalan

    Senior Member
    france, french, breton
    A piece of meat in french is a "grenadin".
    An "estaminet" is a café in Northern France, where british troops were during the 1st WW. They are normal cafés.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I have to admit, Panjandrum, that my initial thought was grenadine? ~ hmm, something fruity, possibly pomegranate ~ I lifted 'meat dish' out of the OED ['research'], despite never having come across that meaning before. The beverage would fit better.
     

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Hi, Panj
    I'm afraid there's no reference to pomgrenade or similar drinks in the context. The guys just go there to drink wine and talk with the local people.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Don't forget, Karoba, that Dos Passos is punning here so it's not to be taken too seriously/literally ~ it's just a fortuitous 'marriage' of grenadine (= something you'd find being served in an estaminet) and grenadier guards
     

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thanks Ewie
    I know he's always punning and playing with words and he's doing that so beautifully; I just like to find the rules of his game.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Grenadine is a syrup or a very sweet liqueur made from pomegranates. It is commonly used to sweeten cocktails and to give them a pink color (for grenadine itself is bright red -- as are the uniforms of the grenadier gurads), and it also would have been the way of making lemonade pink in those days. It can also be used over ice cream. Any bar or cafe would have it, and anyone who frequently made cocktails would keep in on hand. Americans would know the word "grendine" (spelled with that final "e") as the syrup or the almost equally sweet liqueur, but I doubt many would be aware that a "grenadin" was a piece of meat.
     
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