My favourite source of weird and wonderful words, Michael Quinion's 'World Wide Words' * has come up with this interesting nautical titbit:
"A whimsical use of an old sailor's term that could mean small items of tasty food:
At sea, the monotonous round of salt beef and pork at the messes of the sailors - where but very few of the varieties of the season are to be found - induces them to adopt many contrivances in order to diversify their meals. Hence the various sea-rolls, made dishes, and
Mediterranean pies, well known by men-of-war's-men ... all of which come under the general denomination of Manavalins.
White-Jacket, by Herman Melville, 1850...
"Manavilins" has always been plural - nobody seems to have ever
wanted just the one manavilin - and is of unknown origin."
I thought that was very interesting - if you write historical romances, you never know when you might just be able to drop that one in!
*World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion 2011. All rights reserved The original post can be found at: http://www.worldwidewords.org/nl/kjjc.htm