- For Teachers
In a German cookery forum somebody asked why in English we write 'cheesecake' as one word, but 'chocolate cake' as two words. I thought it's a piece of cake. I just look it up in one of my dictionaries and Bob's your uncle. But after reading the entries in three different dictionaries I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew.
So I consulted Michael Swan's 'Practical English Usage' and Raymond Murphy's 'English Grammar in Use' and from what I read and understood about 'noun + noun' the answer to the question seems to be: 'That's the way the cookie crumbles'.
What do you English teachers think? Am I a smart cookie or is this post just taking the biscuit?
I think I'm ready to cook supper after these posts. Not the healthy salad Id' planned, though.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
(1) Your post and the replies were very humorous and entertaining. Thank you.
(2) After checking my dictionaries and the Web, I think that the term in question
has gone through the same process that has affected many other words:
(a) First, it was indeed spelled cheese cake.
(b) Then it became cheese-cake.
(c) Finally, cheesecake.
Even if an authority dared to make a rule, he would be overstepping his authority. The real reasons are normative, i.e. what the community is used to, so distilling it into a principle would be rather false.
Perhaps cheesecloth existed for long enough to make cheesecake look right. Whereas chocolate teapot and chocolate egg and chocolate bunny indicated otherwise.
Could it be that there are many different types of chocolate cake, but cheesecake is somehow more homogeneous?
All I can really say is, I need to find my recipe for chocolate cheesecake. It had diabetics 100 yards away dropping into comas, but it sure was good. One secret was to put Keebler Elves (chocolate sandwhich cookies with chocolate cream filling) into a food processor to form crumbs used to make the crust.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
I think if you spell it without a space, cheesecake has fewer calories.