Culinary Anthropologist

culinary linguist

  1. Oil, vinegar and phonological assimilation

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    Some olives in Morocco. Although they couldjust as easily be in Spain. I’d always wondered why the oil and vinegar seemed to be labelled wrong in Spain.  If, like me, you’re more familiar with Italian than Spanish, and you see two bottles on the table, one labelled “aceite“, you’d be pretty sure that was the […]

  2. To Romania in a spoon


    While staying in the Carpathians with our friends Anca and Eduard, we had a lot of conversations about jam.  I don’t possibly have space here to tell you about everything we learnt (although I’m sure Anna will try soon) – but here’s two things.  First, Romanians have a lot of words for jam.  Second, two […]

  3. Ottoman or not?

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    Now that we’ve spent some time in Turkey, some in Romania and Bulgaria before that, and now some in Greece, it’s been interesting to try to spot various culinary connections between them.  It’s not all pleasant, but they have a lot of shared history via the long presence of the Ottoman empire in Eastern Europe.  […]

  4. Something to do with tea

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    As we’ve been collecting recipes in the various countries we’ve travelled through, we’ve noticed that not only does the food itself change as we move, but the way of talking about it changes too.  People tend to measure volumes, for example, in terms of the utensils they’re used to and have handy.  In the UK […]

  5. Meatballs, kebabs and more vowels

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    Well, after my initial excitement about Hungarian and its way with vowels, I’ve been even more excited to be surrounded by people speaking Turkish.  As with Hungarian, it’s unrelated to any of the European languages I have experience with, so most of the words are unrecognisable (although there’s some noticeable French influence which makes a […]

  6. Beer, wine and vowel harmony

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    The Hungarian language is fascinating, and nowhere is this better reflected (for me at least) than in the words for ‘bar’: a borozó is a wine bar, and a söröző is a beer bar.  At first sight, perhaps, you might not agree that these words are particularly fascinating. But you’d be wrong. And here’s why.