Mish-mish is Arabic (colloquial Lebanese Arabic, anyhow) for apricot. When I was a kid there, it was also the expression for what health food stores here call “apricot leather” (illustrated below). It also has an amusing second meaning having to do with a distant tomorrow.

Syrian apricot leather

Today walking up Main Street in Vancouver, I wandered into a grocery store seeking bread and milk, and it turned out to be an organic/Arabic food place, and since they didn't have anything but pita bread, and no milk but pint-sized bottles, I didn't get any, but I ran across the Mish-mish above, the wrapping looking amazingly like the stuff we used to buy when I was a kid. I bought it and my three-year-old likes it.

And in Lebanon, when somebody said something would be done bukra (tomorrow), and you suspected an indefinite put-off, you could say (if I recall correctly, it was a long time ago) bukra fil mish-mish, meaning “Tomorrow when the apricots bloom.”


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April 27, 2003
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