A fritter can be classified as an ingredient coated in batter and deep-fried. In my kitchen, it typically forms a rough patty, lightly fried in a skillet with a number of ingredients still visible through the crusted batter coating. According to the online etymology dictionary, the noun, not the verb, is derived from the 14th century Old French verb friture meaning ‘something fried’ which in turn is from the Late Latin frictura, ‘a frying’ (1). Precisely because of the double meaning of the word fritter, I am loathe to admit that when packing the little patties away for a beachside picnic, a few pathetic puns along the lines of ‘frittering the afternoon away’ made their way into my discourse.
Nora Heysen, Corn cobs, 1938
oil on canvas, 40.5 x 51.3 cm, Art Gallery of New South Wales