Q: Where is Paxa Bay? I’m positive I read about it somewhere, but I don’t recall any details. — J.E.S., Lancaster, Calif.
A: I think you mean Faxa Bay, which is a bay between the peninsulas of Snaefellsnes and Reykjanes in Iceland. Reykjavik is located on Faxa Bay. The capital city is the northernmost metropolis in the world, and Faxa Bay is the largest bay in Iceland.
In Icelandic, Reykjavik means “Bay of Smokes,” so named by Norse settlers because of the steam from the hot springs in the area.
Some historians say the first settler in Reykjavik was Ingolfr Arnarson, who built a cabin there in 874. Today, the thermal springs provide heat and hot water for homes and other buildings. Seattle has the largest Icelandic community in the United States. In 1986, Seattle and Reykjavik signed an agreement making the two cities official sister cities.
Q: On a New York City menu, I saw something called eggs Sardou. I didn’t ask what they were, but I wish I had. Do you know? — S.L.S., Greenville, N.C.
A: Some of the main ingredients of this Cajun dish are poached eggs, artichoke bottoms, creamed spinach, hollandaise sauce, butter, chopped onions, Tabasco sauce and bechamel sauce. Bechamel sauce is made with butter, flour and milk.
Q: I heard a word not long ago. I don’t know how to spell it (that’s why I can’t look it up), but it was pronounced “r-got.” Do you know what it is? — T.H., New York City
A: The word is “argot.” The dictionary says the preferred pronunciation is with a silent “t,” but if pronounced with the “t,” that’s acceptable. Argot is a specialized form of communication, especially one used by criminals. The word has been used in the English language since at least the mid-1800s.