Posted by Jarsto in Musings
August 20th, 2008 | No Comments »

Every once in a while you run across a word that is eloquent. Most of the time eloquence needs sentences, even paragraphs, but some words just say something so neatly they are, in themselves, eloquent. I was thinking about making dough yesterday, after watching my recording of Monday’s episode of The Hairy Bakers from the BBC.1

The ideal water temperature for making dough – warm enough to activate the yeast, but not hot enough to destroy it – is usually described as either handwarm, or tepid. In some places even plain old lukewarm is used. But I once ran across a word which, to my mind, says it much more eloquently: bloodwarm.

Bloodwarm is – to my mind – a far more precise measurement than handwarm (which can be anything from the temperature of your hands, to the warmest water your hands can take). It means literally the temperature of your blood, or in other words you internal body temperature. For human beings this is normally in a pretty narrow band of just about 1 degree C. And it’s pretty easy to guess just by feeling the water.

I don’t run across words that strike me that much often, but whenever I do it’s a joy. Somehow words like that manage to pound a prodigious amount of meaning into one neat little package, and I enjoy them very much indeed.
1 For those unfamiliar with the series, look here for a bit more info

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