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The Language of Food

A Linguist Reads the Menu

Paperback

Dan Jurafsky (Author)

Our Retail Price:£11.99

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Description

Stanford University linguist and MacArthur Fellow Dan Jurafsky dives into the hidden history of food.

Ketchup began as a fermented fish sauce from China’s Fujian province: ke for fermented fish, tchup for sauce. The British were the first to add tomatoes to their anchovy “catsup” in 1817. A century later, Heinz changed the spelling again—and added sugar.

In The Language of Food, Dan Jurafsky opens a panoramic window onto everything from the modern descendants of ancient recipes to the hidden persuasion in restaurant reviews. Combining history with linguistic analysis, Jurafsky uncovers a global atlas of premodern culinary influence: why we toast to good health at dinner and eat toast for breakfast and why the Chinese don’t have a word for "dessert". Engaging and eclectic, Jurafsky’s study reveals how everything from medieval meal order to modern menu design informs the way we drink and dine today. Tuck in!

Reviews

“His [Jurafsky's] decoding of food-related texts is the most original aspect of a work that is entertaining and revealing throughout.” — The Economist

“...hugely entertaining book...” — The Independent

“Deliciously erudite.” — Nature

“This book won’t put dinner on the table, but it just might improve how you order in a restaurant.” — Tony Turnbull, Christmas Round-ups 2014, The Times

“I found The Language of Food eye-opening, insightful and huge fun to read, with surprises and treats on every page.” — Bee Wilson

“What [Dan Jurafsky] doesn't know about the etymology of food and catering is not worth knowing...[his] deconstruction of a menu...is an object lesson in food PR.” — The Independent

Awards

Short-Listed — James Beard Foundation Book Award, 2015