Soup to Nuts - musing about food expressions

recipebob's picture

Soup to Nuts - now how did that saying get started?

We hear the common colloquialisms, expressions and idioms everyday, and usually just take the words for granted. We're almost numb to their meaning. Do you ever stop to listen to the words, and wonder "where did that expression come from"?

I had that pause the other day when someone mentioned "soup to nuts" in the context of what we were talking about (and I honestly can't even remember what we we're talking about). OK, we know that soup to nuts means everything from A to Z, or maybe more accurately, everything from start to finish.

But just how did the phrase "soup to nuts" come about? In the spirit of the general food interest here at Family Recipe Central, I thought I would "spill the beans" (another shameless food related saying) and dig up the derivation of the expression "soup to nuts".

The Oxford English Dictionary says the phrase "(from) soup to nuts" means "from beginning to end, completely; everything". OK, we knew that more or less. And the dictionary indicates that the phrase is distinctly a US colloquialism.

Apparently, in the United States sometime during the middle of the 20th century, the phrase "soup to nuts" became popular and widely used. At many meals, soup is often the first course and some kind of finish or course at the end would often conclude with nuts. So the "soup to nuts" reference to the meal came to mean from the beginning to the end (and everything in between).

And now you know the "soup to nuts" on "soup to nuts".

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