According to Michael Pollan, rocket is also the “proper American name” for arugula:
It is true you might want to plant iceberg lettuce rather than arugula, at least to start. (Or simply call arugula by its proper American name, as generations of Midwesterners have done: “rocket.”)
Arugula is the Italian name for it, so I’m not exactly sure what people have against it. Zucchini and broccoli (hardly pretentious vegetables) also have Italian names. Lots of American favorite foods are Italian in origin — pizza and pasta, anyone? Well, unlike zucchini and broccoli (and pizza and pasta), it is often expensive, and since it is expensive and sounds foreign, its existence must clearly be at the insistence of liberal yuppiehood. (It probably helps that Italian is now also associated with Starbucks and other gourmet coffee brands, as I presume it wasn’t when zucchini, broccoli, pizza, and pasta became part of American culture.)
Dan commented on the LJ feed of my blog on the same thing Pollan is talking about:
You know how arugula is the new metonymy for all things liberal yuppie? I doubt that’d be the case if we called it “rocket”.
My response was:
Maybe I’ll start calling it rocket. (But then I think people will mocket (ha) by calling it ‘roquette’.)
As it turns out, it actually is called roquette too.
I enjoyed the article a lot — I love the thought that some of the White House’s South Lawn could be turned into a Victory Garden of sorts. I don’t agree with everything that Pollan suggests, but it’s a great batch of ideas to assess. And it has this amusing tie-in to my last entry. Win!