spaansch spek, spaanspekShow more Also spaansch spek, spaanspek, spanspeck, sponspeck, and with initial capital(s).
Afrikaans, South African Dutch, DutchShow more Afrikaans (earlier South African Dutch), adaptation of Dutch Spaansche spek ‘Spanish bacon’, the name in the West Indies for a type of melon (Van Dale Groot Woordeboek der Nederlandse Taal, 1859); see also quotations 1913 and 1972; and the following:
‘It seems that Sir Harry Smith [the Governor of the Cape Colony]..liked his British breakfast of ham and eggs every morning. But his Spanish wife, Lady Juana Smith, preferred musk-melon...Lady Juana’s Hottentot maids..considered musk-melon for breakfast rather peculiar, while “spek” for breakfast was O.K. with them. So they..called Lady Juana’s breakfast “Spaans spek”, meaning “Spanish ham”.’ (A. Theron, More South African Deep-Freezing, 1970, p.173).
The musk melon or sweet melon Cucumis mels of the Cucurbitaceae, round in shape, with succulent pinkish-gold flesh and a hard, textured skin; Spanish Spec(k). Also attributive.
[1731G. Medleytr. ofP. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H.II. 277Melo Hispanicus i.e. The Spanish or Musk-Melon. The Musk-Melons, produc’d at the Cape, are as good as Those produc’d in Spain. The Cape-Europeans call ’em Spanish Bacon.]
1849J.D. Lewins Diary. 14Put in a small row of spanspecks and five of wheat.
1857R.J. Mullins Diary. 24Mr Reynolds and I caught two boys in the garden — we caught them, and Reynolds gave them a good thrashing for they had 9 sponspeks and 2 watermelons!
1886G.A. FariniThrough Kalahari Desert 61Mr. Barlett came and asked if I would like to buy any musk-melons (sponspeck), figs, pomegranates, or mealies.
1900A.W. CarterInformant, Ladybrand 8 Mar. 4Mr Pohl came out and asked us to join them at dinner which we did not refuse — wound up with a fine Spaansch Spek.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 463Spaanspek,..The sweet or musk melon, apparently known to the Dutch through the Spaniards. It is called ‘spek’ from the bacon-like colour of the fruit when cut.
1913J.J. DokeSecret City 78In their season the ground was cumbered by water-melons and spanspeks.
1916Farmer’s Weekly 20 Dec. 1543 (advt)Sow Them and Make Money!!..Winter Sponspek, Melons all winter, 1s.6d. ounce.
1941Star 9 Jan. 7A few days ago I sold spanspek to a hawker at sixpence each and found him a little later selling the same fruit at 2s each.
1944J. MockfordHere Are S. Africans 45And there were always dishes piled with fruit on the table — peaches, nartjies or tangerines, pears, grapes, pompelmoes or grapefruit, spanspek or muskmelon.
1965E. MphahleleDown Second Ave 82We met at the river..with a good haul of oranges, sponspecks, carrots, tomatoes, bananas and other items.
1972L. Van der PostStory like Wind 233The wonderful yellow melons they grew so successfully..a melon called ‘span-spek’ (Span-ham), a name which Ouma had maintained was a contraction of Spanish-ham, being eaten as an hors-d’oeuvres with ham.
1975Cape Times 13 Jan. 2Spanspek price in UK may drop.
1981Signature Apr. 15No fruit grown in South Africa has improved in recent years more impressively than our beloved spanspek, sometimes called the cantaloupe.
1990Weekend Post 17 Feb. (Leisure) 6Peeled and served ice-cold, prickly pears are delicious, and, combined with watermelons or spanspek or in a fruit salad, they are gourmet fare.
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