Food and Language


ISBN-13 978-1-903018-79-8

Published Jul 2010

390 pages;

246×174 mm;


6 b&w illustrations



Oxford Symposium

Food and Language

Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2009

Cooking may be simply the provision of nourishment palatable to the human body, but it needs language to soar beyond the kitchen stove and a viable vocabulary to make communication between cooks and diners profitable and possible. This is a rich field for the collective endeavours of the 28th Symposium at Oxford. Linguistics and etymology may be a tool for unravelling the history of foodstuffs and their migration from one culture to another; or language may supply a social and cultural subtext to what would otherwise be solely a culinary message; or the tools of literary criticism may be unleashed with profit on texts of cookery manuals or recipe books. Subjects covered include:

  • Reading Between the Lines of a Japanese Menu
  • A Limousin-French dictionary as a source on the history of cooking
  • Sex, Food, and Valentine’s Day
  • Russian food words: at home and abroad
  • Retrieving Food History through Linguistics
  • The Language of Butchery Diagrams
  • The sweet-sour journey of Sephardic cuisine and Ladino language
  • Gynaecophagia: metaphors of women as food in the Talmudic literature
  • Western Dishes in Cantonese Cooking



The Language of Food Judith Jones
Food and Language: What’s In a Name? Joan P. Alcock
Shinagaki Tales: Reading Between the Lines of a Japanese Menu Elizabeth Andoh
In Praise of Shadows: Japanese Language for Japanese Food Experience Kimiko Barber
‘Truly the Ear Tests Words as the Palate Tastes Food’ (Job :): Synaesthetic Food Metaphors for the Experience of the Divine in Jewish Tradition Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus
The Anatolian Origins of the Words ‘Olive’ and ‘Oil’ and the Early History of Oleïculture Anthony F. Buccini
The Visual Language of the Recipe: A Brief Historical Survey Ruth Carroll
Re-viewing a Surrealist’s Distasteful Writings: Georges Bataille’s Linguistic Consumption of/with the Eye Janine Catalano
A Limousin-French Dictionary as a Source on the History of Cooking: Potatoes in the Tulle Area in the Early Nineteenth Century Monique Chastanet
The Emergence of the Cookbook and the Evolution of Cooking Terminology in Imperial Russia Didi DiVirgilio
Sex, Food, and Valentine’s Day: Language of Food – Language of Love: A Linguistic Analysis of Valentine’s Day Menus in a Selection of Parisian Restaurants at Present Carole Faivre
The Italian Language of Food: Notes from a Translator Maureen B. Fant
How Do You Describe a Champagne Jelly? Len Fisher
The Rhetoric of American Restaurant Menus and the Use of French Paul Freedman
Ministries and Campaigns: The Political Language and Tactics of Popular British Food-writing Charlotte Frew
Russian Food Words at Home and Abroad Alexandra Grigorieva
German on the Menu – Serving Nationalism: Franco-German Linguistic Relations and an Evaluation of the Present Situation Ursula Heinzelmann
Recipe Structure – An Historical Survey Peter Hertzmann
A Very Cold Collation: Food Stories from Polar Words Bernadette Hince
The Unspoken Language of Food Sybil Kapoor
Recipes and Dishes: What Should Be Copyrightable? Cathy K. Kaufman
What’s in the Name of a Dish? The Words Mean what the People of the Mediterranean Want them to Mean… Aglaia Kremezi and Anissa Helou
What Can the Culinary Historian Learn from the Linguist? Ten Suggestions Rachel Laudan
Hidden Voices from the Culinary Past: Oral History as a Tool for Food Historians Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire
‘A Vulgar Care’: Talking about Food in Eighteenth-Century Anglo-American Novels Mark McWilliams
Early Modern Spanish Cookbooks: The Curious Case of Diego Granado Carolyn A. Nadeau
Food for Thought: Ye Sette of Odd Volumes Dining Society Joan Navarre
Korma, Kavurma, Ghormeh: A Family, or Not So Much? Charles Perry
Retrieving Food History through Linguistics: Culinary Traditions in Early Bantuphone Communities Birgit Ricquier and Koen Bostoen
Telling Porkies: The Nomenclature of the Pig and its Parts Gillian Riley
A Plate of Fresh Jewish Maidens With Potatoes Alicia Rios Ivars, translated by Raymond Sokolov Saltzman
The Meaning of Pepper: Money, Medicine and Magic Caroline Rowe
Food as Story: Story as Food William Rubel
‘Doing’ Words: The Evolution of Culinary Vocabulary Barbara Santich
The Language of Butchery Diagrams Teagan Schweitzer
George Washington Carver: Bulletin Author Elizabeth M. Simms
The Language of the Food of the Poor: Studying Proverbs with Jean-Louis Flandrin David C. Sutton
Empanadas with Turkish Delight or Borekitas de Lokum? The Sweet-sour Journey of Sephardic Cuisine and Ladino Language Aylin Öney Tan
Using Language to Investigate Ellen Chantrill’s Recipe Book Malcolm Thick
Gynaecophagia: Metaphors of Women as Food in the Talmudic Literature Susan Weingarten
Would a Dish By Another Name Taste as Good? Western Dishes in Cantonese Cooking Willa Zhen
Blogs about Food on the Internet or How Everyone has Something to Say about what we Eat Marcia Zoladz
Vocabularies of Middle Eastern Food Sami Zubaida