The evolution of the names and ingredients in popular foods.
Have you ever wondered why ketchup bottles have the word "tomato" on them, why you "toast" to someone's health or why salt is used in the process of making ice cream? In this thoroughly researched book, Jurafsky (Linguistics and Computer Science/Stanford Univ.) answers these questions and many more as he explores the interconnected worlds of food and words. Combining history, geography and etymology, the author travels the world searching for the origins of ethnic dishes and provides readers with a fascinating study of how foods, and the words used to describe them, have been modified over the centuries as cuisines have been absorbed into local cultures. English, Dutch and Portuguese sailors traveled to Asia and brought back fermented fish stews and sauces that added new flavor combinations to the European diet. Spices from India and the Middle East were traded around the globe, and the New World introduced turkey, corn and avocados to the large food-trading houses in Europe. Combining history with modern computer programs to analyze data, the author examines the subtle nuances in the language used on a menu, which can help indicate whether a restaurant is expensive or not. He also studies the way negative words used in product descriptions help push consumers into thinking one brand of potato chips is far superior to another, when in fact, both brands are made from potatoes cooked in oil and covered in salt. Jurafsky also includes intriguing recipes for dishes such as a version of fish stew from 13th-century Egypt or a 1545 recipe from a Tudor cookbook called Chekyns upon soppes (“basically chicken on cinnamon toast”).
A highly informative and entertaining compendium of food and word facts sure to appeal to foodies and etymologists alike.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)