Stew (see scurvy)

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Mon Dec 15 21:12:27 EST 2003

I wrote:
> Unfortunately it seems Mrs B never wrote the famous
> phrase, which begs the question who did say it? It
> is
> often quoted, and usually attributed to Mrs B., the
> real author deserves acknowledgement. It is not in
> any
> of the books of quotations I have here at school.
Found it now, sort of, The original phrase was "first
catch your hare" (Minnow's hare splitting was not far
off the mark) and is actually a misquote for “Take
your hare when it is cased [skinned] ...,”  which
formed part of a recipe in The Art of Cookery Made
Plain and Easy (1747) by Hannah Glasse. However if you
go back even further we have Bracton (c. 1220) "et
vulgariter dictur, quod primum oportet cervum capare
et postea, cum captua fuerit, illum excoriare" - and
it is a common saying that it is best first to catch
the stag and afterwards, when he has been caught to
skin him.
The earliest use of the phrase "First catch your
rabbit" I can find is as the title of a story by
Merlin Moore Taylor in the February 1923 issue of
Detective tales. 

Jon - both hare splitting and pedantic

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