Not a week goes by when someone doesn’t have a question about their “honey cone.” How should they store it or eat it or clean it? How can they sell it or save it or reuse it?
I always wondered where this spelling variation came from. I used to think it was a simple typo or an auto-fill glitch. But it happens so often, I hatched a brainy idea: I would Google it.
The real thing
So guess what? There really is a thing called a honey cone. Two in fact. First, there was an American R&B all-female vocal group called Honey Cone that was active 1969-1973. They are remembered for their hit single, “Want Ads.”
The second instance is a food product called Hawaiian Honey Cone. It is a frozen dessert inside a J-shaped pastry with ice cream stuck in both ends.
All things cone
Okay, with that cleared up, I Googled cones. Cone-shaped things are all around, but I can find little to connect cones with honeycombs. The only possible nexus I can see is the surface texture of waffle cones or pine cones which, perhaps, could remind someone of honeycombs. Or not. I still can’t figure out why the error is so common unless it’s just a matter of hearing it incorrectly.
Does honeycomb make more sense?
Long before I ran into the phrase “honey cone” I used to wonder where the comb in honeycomb came from. It’s equally confusing because it doesn’t look anything like a comb either, right?
I’ve never been able to find a reasonable explanation of the word’s origin. Some say the word comb derives from Old English camb or German kamm, meaning a toothed object, but I can hardly see how a honeycomb is toothed.
The derivation that makes a bit more sense comes from catacomb—an “underground cemetery, especially one consisting of tunnels and rooms with recesses dug out for coffins and tombs.” Morbid, perhaps, but I can visualize a honeycomb as a storage room with recesses prepared for honey.
If any of you has a clue of why any of this is so, I would love to hear it.
Honey Bee Suite
Well it's a darn good life
And it's kinda funny
How the Lord made the bee
And the bee made the honey
And the honeybee lookin' for a home
And they called it honeycomb ...
Jimmie F. Rodgers
Album: Cruisin’ 1957