CLOSE
Original image

Latin Lover: Quod me nutrit me destruit

Original image

Welcome to the first installment of a new feature I'm calling Latin Lover. Yes, Latin is a dead language, but its ghost haunts our lives in so many ways, we just gotta write about it.

Keeping on the Angelina Jolie ink theme of this morning, let's take a look at the phrase, Quod me nutrit me destruit "“ a tattoo Jolie sports below her navel.

The literal translation: "What nourishes me destroys me," generally gets interpreted as "what really motivates a person can also consume from within." Though, some pro-anorexia forums (whose members say anorexia is a lifestyle choice, not an illness), started using it not too long ago to refer, obviously, to food.

But the origins of the phrase are semi-hazy. It's not found in any classic Latin text, or attributed to any writer from ancient times. So is it possible that Jolie and these pro-anorexia groups are using the wrong variation on a theme?

Why? Because Quod me alit, me extinguit "What feeds me, extinguishes me," can be found. It's from a play mostly attributed to William Shakespeare called Pericles, Prince of Tyre, which, in turn, was inspired by Apollonius of Tyre, a Latin text dating from the 6th century.

That hypothesis stated, if you ever get the good fortune of meeting Angelina Jolie, I wouldn't show off by mentioning the possible roots of her tattoo. Might not be the kind of food for thought that would sit too well with her, if you get my meaning.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
Original image
iStock

While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
Original image
iStock

Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios