Food Chain Radio News
Food Chain Radio Show #987
Michael Olson, Author & Urban Farming Agriculturalist
What can food words teach about human history?
Guest: Stanford University Professor Dan Jurafsky and Author, The Language of Food
It first appeared back in ancient China as a fermented fish suace called ke-tchup, was picked up by traders who distilled it into a popular alcohol called arrack, then migrated to the new world where it now commands grocers’ shelves as ketchup.
There can be a lot in a word, if the word is a food word!
Take the word turkey and ask: “Why was a native bird of Mexico named after a Muslim country in the Meditteranean?” The answer will take you back in time to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the fanatical efforts of Portuguese traders to keep the sources of their gold, spices and exotic birds secret.
Or pick up the word dessert, and wonder why the Chinese do not own such a word, and do not serve it up at the end of meals. Or open up several different restaurant menus, and learn how each uses different words to sell, or how they do not use any words at all to sell. And so we ask…