“Goulash” stems from the word “osh”, which is Yiddish for soup or stew. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that ghouls came during the winter solstice to feed on the soul of a family’s first born son. To appease the ghouls, osh was placed outside for them to eat instead. It was taken for granted that ghouls enjoyed potatoes. People continued to make ghoul osh, or goulash for centuries, eventually abandoning the superstition but preserving the recipe for themselves.
“Tongs” derives from “toeng”, which is the Latin word for nipple, or tit. During the Spanish Inquisition, metal pincers were used to squeeze the nipples, or toengs of the condemned, inflicting tremendous pain- especially when the pincers were held over a fire prior to being used. The implement of torture is nearly identical to the “tongs” found in many contemporary kitchens, which are used for grilling, selecting danishes from a pastry case, or turning over asparagus.
“Accent” originates from the Medieval Scottish tradition of “sending the ax”. When a traveler came through a territory and spoke with an outlandish tongue, it was custom to slay the stranger with an ax. Afterward, villagers would say to themselves that “the ax was sent”, or simply “ax sent”. Ax sent eventually became accent, to denote a different way of speaking.
“Sanitizer” comes from San Itizer, or Saint Itizer. A Franciscan monk who lived in France in the fifteenth century, Saint Itizer is the patron saint of germophobes and hypochondriacs. It’s claimed that during the Plague, Saint Itizer disinfected door knobs and broom handles with the touch of his hand.
“Zinc” was born in the age of alchemy. German alchemists, seeking to turn lead into gold, ended up with a white, powdery subtance every time they performed their experiment using their kitchen sink. Being upset but unwilling to doubt alchemy, they blamed their sinks, shouting, Sink! Sink! Sink! With a German accent, this sounds an awfully lot like Zinc! Zinc! Zinc! Which was, then, the name given to the white powder.