One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A European songbird, especially a warbler, eaten as a delicacy.
- ‘The birds must be taken alive; once captured they are either blinded or kept in a lightless box for a month to gorge on millet, grapes, and figs, a technique apparently taken from the decadent cooks of Imperial Rome who called the birds beccafico, or ‘fig-pecker’.’
- ‘The dish is named for the beccafico, a bird that eats ripe figs and is therefore considered a gourmand.’
- ‘In the 15th and 16th centuries, Venetian literature mentions the beccaficos, literally translated as the fig-pecker.’
- ‘The beccafico, however, is not as a rule artificially fattened, and on this account was preferred by some sensitive tastes to the ortolan.’
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