Word Nerd Wednesday – SCRATCH


Have you ever wondered where the phrase “starting from scratch” came from?

I hadn’t until an article on the topic came across my feed recently.

It seemed perfect for #WordNerdWednesday.

“The scratch” is what 18th century folks called the starting line in a race or sport. It was, quite literally, a line scratched into the ground.

To start “from scratch” meant to start at the line without any extra advantage or head start.

Referring to food as “made from scratch” didn’t start until there was a “non-scratch” option to compare it to.

That happened when packaged and frozen foods gained popularity in the mid 20th century. Why soak beans or grow your own tomatoes when you can use canned?!

Cooks who opted to forgo the head start of convenience foods were said to be cooking “from scratch.”

Interestingly, the word “scotch” was also used in the 17th century to refer to a line or gash. Hence the game “hopscotch” – hopping over scotches, i.e. lines scratched into the ground.

Who knew?

Link to article: