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Knickerbocker Glory

Posted by Gary Martin on June 26, 2010 at 20:26

In Reply to: Knickerbocker Glory posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 26, 2010 at 07:27:

: : : : I'm doing some research on the origin of the name Knickerbocker Glory. Some references claim the ice-cream desert to be a British concoction. 'Knickerbockers' appears to refer to early Dutch New Yorkers and 'knickerbocker glory' was used in that context before it was an ice-cream. Has anyone any knowledge of the expression being used in relation to New York?

: : : I only found Knickerbocker Glory in one reference -- Brewer's -- and it said, "It is not clear what relationship, if any, it has with Knickerbockers." Could it have a connection with the Knickerbocker Hotel?

: : I grew up in the NY metro area beginning in 1960, and I have to say I can't recall hearing the two words put together before. I would have guessed it was a reference to the New York Knicks basketball team, but the team was only formed in the late 1940's and didn't achieve much glory until 1969-70.

: The OED doesn't offer any explanation of the name at all. However, "An A-Z of Food and Drink" (Ed. John Ayto. Oxford University Press, 2002) offers this: 'A knickerbocker glory is an elaborate ice-cream dessert consisting of layers of ice-cream, jelly, fruit, and cream served in a tall glass. It has no connection with nether garments; the term was presumably inspired by Diedrich Knickerbocker, the mock-Dutch name invented by Washington Irving for the fictitious author of his History of New York . This subsequently became synonymous with the descendants of the original Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam, and eventually with New Yorkers in general - so a knickerbocker glory is essentially a tribute to New York. The term is first recorded in the 1930s.' (VSD)

I'm sure that the knickerbocker glory name was taken from the earlier NY usage, but why the knickerbockers were glorious remains a mystery to me.