A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 28, 2006
Pico de gallo

"Pico de gallo” is a Mexican food, but probably more Cal-Mex than Tex-Mex. I pointed this dish out to the OED and supplied the 1962 citation below.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
pico de gallo, n.
Chiefly U.S.
[< Mexican Spanish pico de gallo a spicy Mexican relish, lit. ‘cockerel's beak’ < Spanish pico (see PICO- comb. form) + de DE prep. + gallo cockerel (1207; < classical Latin gallus: see GALLINE adj.).
It is uncertain why the Spanish phrase should be used in this sense; one suggested explanation is that this is due to the heat of the dish creating a painful sensation on the tongue, similar to being pecked by a bird.]

A Mexican salsa or salad, typically made with coarsely chopped tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, chillies, and coriander, and served as an accompaniment.

1962 Los Angeles Times E17/1 (heading) Pico de Gallo (Comb of the Rooster). 1970 Pomona (Calif.) Progress-Bull. 20 Feb. B3/5 Mexican fried rice, orange and cucumber salad called pico de gallo, and lemonade. 1991 Food & Wine Aug. 79/1 With the addition of cilantro, it is known as pico de gallo, a popular, all-purpose salsa.

23 February 1958, Independent Star-News (Pasadena, CA), Scene section (story about Guadalajara, Mexico), pg. 29:
Ponder this near-fatal event and its historical repercussions over a tequila chased by a “pico de gallo” (orange, jicama fruit and small, red and hot chile pepper) and the stern stuff of the Mexican Revolution will seem real.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, July 28, 2006 • Permalink