May 31, 2011


Summary: I've always been a little fuzzy on the word pastiche. Is it a food? An art form? A style of building designs? ... Or is it possibly all of the above and then some?

As you've surely learned by now, I often use this blog to teach myself new words. It's one of the perks of being the blogger who makes those decisions—such as, "What will be the WOW, or Word of the Week, this time?" (And "Do I still blog on Memorial Day if I'm taking the rest of the day off of work?" To that one, I decided this year the answer would be, "Nah, that's okay.")

So today, there's a word I'm having a hard time using correctly. And that word is pastiche. Let's learn a little bit about it together:

Pastiche (pass - TEESH) - (n.) a literary, artistic, musical or even architectural composition that either imitates a previous style or is made up of selections from different works.

Synonyms for the latter definition include potpourri and hodgepodge. But when it comes to the first definition, that's where I draw a blank. It doesn't help that the word, a French word (for "medley of different works") derived from Italian, sounds like some sort of food to me—like an even more delicious pistachio. Its sound reminds me of a dessert. And my instincts aren't that far off: It turns out the Italian word, pasticcio, also means "pastry cake" and is linked to the word pasta. (Mmm, pastry cake ...)

What connects so many different ideas—pasta, cake, artistic medleys? Etymology can answer that question, too. The original Latin word pasticium means "composed of paste," or "pasted together." Like dough (in both cake and pasta), a pastiche of artistic styles is often kneaded with love to rise high in the hearts of intended admirers.

If you love pastries, words and art blends, join me in homage to all at my friend Jama Finney's deliciously artistic web store, CakeZen. It's a veritable pastiche of pastry and party styles!

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2011

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