Ever wonder why the “mess hall” is called that? The root of mess is the Old French mes, "portion of food" (cf. modern French mets), drawn from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send" and "to put" (cf. modern French mettre), the original sense being "a course of a meal put on the table"; cfr. also the modern Italian portata with the same meaning, past participle of portare, to bring. This sense of mess, which appeared in English in the 13th century, was often used for cooked or liquid dishes in particular, as in the "mess of pottage" (porridge or soup) or Eton mess.
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