Archive for Language and food

Reclamation of a wasteland by an army unit

Jane Skinner received this from a friend who saw it in Chengdu, Sichuan:

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How about some delicious roasted husband, dear?

From Anand Mahindra's Twitter account:

https://twitter.com/anandmahindra/status/1090479366235213824

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"Whoever does not eat, who can't understand life"

Two images of Chinese takeaway packages in Beijing from Teresa Norman:

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Ultra-polite term for miso soup

[This is a guest post by Nathan Hopson]

I just came across perhaps the strangest kanji compound in the entire 20+ years since I started learning Japanese:

御御御付 (おみおつけ omiotsuke)

Bottom line: it's miso soup.

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Miscellaneous bacteria, part 2

From Diana S. Zhang, apropos of the recent post "Miscellaneous bacteria":

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Miscellaneous bacteria

Jeff DeMarco spotted this menu item at the Splendid China attraction in Shenzhen:

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Galactic glimmers: of milk and Old Sinitic reconstructions

Often have I pondered on the origin and precise meaning of the Sinitic word lào, luò (reading pronunciation) 酪 ("fermented milk; yoghurt; sour milk; kumiss"); Old Sinitic (OS) /*ɡ·raːɡ/ (Zhengzhang).  My initial impression was that it may have been related to IE "galactic" words.

Possibly from a Central Asian language; compare Mongolian айраг (ajrag, fermented milk of mares) and Turkish ayran (yoghurt mixed with water). The phonetic similarity between Sinitic (OS *ɡ·raːɡ, “milk”), Ancient Greek γάλα (gála, milk) and Latin lac (milk), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵlákts (milk) is worth noting (Schuessler, 2007).

(Wiktionary)

Paul Kroll, ed., A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, p. 256a:

1. kumiss, fermented mare's milk (also cow's or sheep's) < Khotan-Saka ragai (with metathesis)

    a. yogurt, milk curdled by bacteria

As Schuessler (2007), p. 345 notes, the fermented drink "arrack" may be a different etymon, a loan from Arabic 'araq ("fermented juice").  (Pulleyblank 1962:  250 contra Karlgren 1926) [VHM:  full references below]

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Rude and unreasonable chicken

From June Teufel Dreyer:

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Make food great again

Spotted by Anthony Clayden in Taitung, Taiwan:

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Trump beef noodles

Photograph of a sign in downtown Taitung, Taiwan:

(Courtesy of Anthony Clayden)

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Seitan

From time to time during the past half century or so, I've heard of a food product called seitan.  Because the name sounds Japanese and it was associated with a natural food store in Cambridge, Massachusetts that I frequented called Erewhon (see here for the 1872 satirical Utopian novel by Samuel Butler whence it got its name) that was founded by Japanese macrobiotic advocates (see below for a bit more detail), I always assumed that it was both a Japanese word and a Japanese product.  As we shall find later in this post, I was (sort of) mistaken on both counts.

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The politics and linguistics of bread in Taiwan and China

Taiwanese master baker Wu Pao-chun 吳寶春 with a loaf of his famous bread:

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Mee Tu flavor

A tasty visual pun found on Facebook:

(originally posted by Wayne Hudson)

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