The term pettitoes is now virtually obsolete, but for a couple of hundred years before its demise it was used for ‘pigs' trotters’: ‘When pettitoes are fried they should first be boiled’ (Mary Jewry, Model Cookery, 1875). This application, however, arose out of the entirely mistaken supposition that the word meant literally ‘little toes’. In fact, pettitoes has no connection with toe. It derives from French petite oie, literally ‘little goose’, defined by Randle Cotgrave in his Dictionary of the French and English Tongues (1611) as ‘the giblets of a Goose; also, the bellie, and inwards or intralls, of other edible creatures’. When the word first came into English, in the mid-sixteenth century, this was the meaning it had, although almost from the first it seems to have been particularly applied to the products of the pig.
Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.