Introducing 'Food Grammar,' the Unspoken Rules of Every Cuisine
Technically, spaghetti and meatballs is bad grammar.
“Consider the adjective “hungry” in English, a concept conveyed with the noun hambre in Spanish. By imposing Spanish grammar on the English sentence, you get the phrase: “I have hunger.” Pretty, maybe, but odd. Similarly, someone attempting to recreate a foreign cuisine may find that their native grammar sneaks into their conception of the meal. As a result, trying your home food abroad can prove disorienting: Parisian restaurants may serve a hamburger with a fork and knife; a Japanese restaurant serving yoshoku, or “Western food,” might place croquettes and cabbage rolls in a bento-like box along with tiny portions of pickled vegetables and miso soup. In China, explains Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, rice is served after the main and before the soup, making the American-Chinese tradition of serving white rice alongside the main seem as odd to Chinese diners as an English-speaker hearing a foreigner say “old silly fool” instead of “silly old fool.””Posted on 2021-02-02T06:22:14+0000