Introducing ‘Food Grammar,’ the Unspoken Rules of Every Cuisine

jazz lady

~*~ Rara Avis ~*~
PREMO Member
Technically, spaghetti and meatballs is bad grammar.

SERVE SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS TO an Italian, and they may question why pasta and meat are being served together. Order a samosa as an appetizer, and an Indian friend might point out, as writer Sejal Sukhadwala has, that this is similar to a British restaurant offering sandwiches as a first course. Offer an American a hamburger patty coated in thick demi-glace, and they’ll likely raise an eyebrow at this common Japanese staple dubbed hambagoo.

Each of these meals or dishes feels somehow odd or out of place, at least to one party, as though an unspoken rule has been broken. Except these rules have indeed been discussed, written about extensively, and given a name: food grammar.

Yes, much like language, cuisine obeys grammatical rules that vary from country to country, and academics have documented and studied them. They dictate whether food is eaten sitting or standing; on the floor or at a table; with a fork or chopsticks or with fingers. Like sentence structure, explains Ken Albala, Professor of History at the University of the Pacific, a cuisine’s grammar can be reflected in the order in which it is served, and a grammar can dictate which foods can (or cannot) be paired, like cheese on fish, or barbecue sauce on ice cream.
Introducing 'Food Grammar,' the Unspoken Rules of Every Cuisine - Gastro Obscura (atlasobscura.com)

Interesting. :eyebrow:
 

stgislander

Well-Known Member
PREMO Member
You do what you do best. Ever heard of an irish restaurant? Irish pub, yes.
My wife recently picked up a cookbook called Irish Pub. I'm looking at half the things in there and saying things like, "That doesn't sound Irish" or "Just because you put ale or stout in it doesn't make it Irish." :lol:
 

DaSDGuy

Well-Known Member
My wife recently picked up a cookbook called Irish Pub. I'm looking at half the things in there and saying things like, "That doesn't sound Irish" or "Just because you put ale or stout in it doesn't make it Irish." :lol:
Only so many ways to prepare corned beef and cabbage.
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
Traveled the world ten times over in the last 40 years..and the English still hold my record as the worst "cuisine" I ever ate. They can destroy a good piece of beef like nobody else can.

I sorta got used to their breakfast...an overcooked fried egg, a shriveled up couple pieces of what they call "bacon"..a nice big ole chunk of fried black pudding..a couple of truly tasteless sausage-looking things.....oh..and a couple tomato chunks that were probably cooked in the pan with the tasteless sauasage things. And of course..to top it all off...a big ole dollop of baked beans.

Liberally smothered with the same sauce they use on the chips that come with the fish..fish and chips being the ONLY thing they do cook well.

when we were working in England regularly, we'd eat at any of the awesome Indian, Italian or Chinese restaurants in the area...and do our best to avoid anything English.
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
.an overcooked fried egg, a shriveled up couple pieces of what they call "bacon"..a nice big ole chunk of fried black pudding..a couple of truly tasteless sausage-looking things.....oh..and a couple tomato chunks that were probably cooked in the pan with the tasteless sauasage things. And of course..to top it all off...a big ole dollop of baked beans.
Oh yum. That sounds absolutely....

atrocious....
 

Kyle

Having a Beer while the world burns!
PREMO Member
My wife recently picked up a cookbook called Irish Pub. I'm looking at half the things in there and saying things like, "That doesn't sound Irish" or "Just because you put ale or stout in it doesn't make it Irish." :lol:
You have to dye it green, right?
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
Oh yum. That sounds absolutely....

atrocious....
I was staying at a hotel in Grimsby not too long ago. Grimsby is a smallish town on the northeast coast of the UK, not too far from Yarmouth. Nice little place..friendly staff...good beer on tap in the bar.

Their restaurant was apparently well regarded locally and the "place to go" for their Sunday specials. I had the mutton......once......somehow they even managed to ruin the damned potatoes!
But the famously stoic English...they eat that stuff up and chat away at the dinner table as if the stuff was the best thing ever. An acquired skill...obviously...

But herein lies a mystery. I've had some truly awesome "pub food" at English, Irish and Scottish pubs scattered round the world. Norway..Sweden..Germany..Denmark...Netherlands....Belgium....Egypt..and so on... WTF? Maybe all the decent cooks bugger off and head to other countries?
 
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stgislander

Well-Known Member
PREMO Member
Traveled the world ten times over in the last 40 years..and the English still hold my record as the worst "cuisine" I ever ate. They can destroy a good piece of beef like nobody else can.

I sorta got used to their breakfast...an overcooked fried egg, a shriveled up couple pieces of what they call "bacon"..a nice big ole chunk of fried black pudding..a couple of truly tasteless sausage-looking things.....oh..and a couple tomato chunks that were probably cooked in the pan with the tasteless sauasage things. And of course..to top it all off...a big ole dollop of baked beans.

Liberally smothered with the same sauce they use on the chips that come with the fish..fish and chips being the ONLY thing they do cook well.

when we were working in England regularly, we'd eat at any of the awesome Indian, Italian or Chinese restaurants in the area...and do our best to avoid anything English.
One of our last nights in Great Yarmouth we ate at a Turkish restaurant. We joked for weeks it must have been a Turkish mob hangout. The only people we ever saw were the "goombahs" sitting out front. Well one night it was the only restaurant open so we went in. The food was FANTASTIC!!! Even the Filipinos from the boat's crew enjoyed it.
 

RoseRed

American Beauty
PREMO Member
Funny, I'm watching a movie and one guy said that even English people don't like English food. 😂
 

black dog

Free America
My bestie is a Mc****, when she actually cooks dinner, I go out and eat dinner by myself.
She is incapable of the simple domestic task of baking a potatoé.
And she waffles between Catholic and Protestant whiskey....
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Patron
Irish food is delicious and you heathens who say it isn't are wrong. Colcannon is one of my favorite things to eat. Shepherd's pie - who doesn't like that?? Boxty is just a potato pancake with various yummy stuff - why wouldn't you like that? Hello, fried meat pies??? It's meat! And pastry! And fried!!

Hearty comfort food - yes please!

Monello took me to an Israeli restaurant in Myrtle Beach for Valentine's Day one year and it was amazing.
 
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