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On Triangles - an Introduction

This leads to an article about "the culinary triangle" which depicts "cuisine" in a certain way.  Wiki says this about cuisine and traditional cuisine (edited):

Cuisine (from the French cuisine, "cooking; culinary art; kitchen"; ultimately from the Latincoquere, "to cook") is a specific set  of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a specific culture. It is often named after the region or place where its underlining culture is present. A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade.  Religious food laws can also exercise a strong influence on cuisine.

Traditional cuisine

A traditional cuisine is a coherent tradition of food preparation that rises from the daily lives and kitchens of a people over an extended period of time in a specific region of a country, or a specific country, and which, when localized, has notable distinctions from the cuisine of the country as a whole.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine

Wiki also says this about the culinary triangle  (edited):

Culinary triangle

The culinary triangle is a concept described by anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss involving three types of cooking; these  are boiling, roasting and smoking usually done to meat.

The boiling of meat is looked at as a cultural way of cooking because it uses a receptacle to hold water, therefore it is not completely natural. It is also the most preferred way to cook because neither any of the meat nor its juices are lost. In most cultures, this form of cooking is most represented by women and is served domestically to small closed groups, such as families.

Roasting of meat is a natural way of cooking because it uses no receptacle. It is done by directly exposing the meat
to the fire.   It is most commonly offered to guests and is associated with men in many cultures. As opposed to boiling, meat can lose some parts, thus it is also associated with destruction and loss

Smoking meat is also a natural way of cooking. It is also done without a receptacle and in the same way as roasting. It is a slower method of roasting, however, which makes it somewhat like boiling.


According to Claude Lévi-Strauss, other cooking methods could be situated within this triangle. For example, grilling meat, by nature of the meat being situated with "with lesser distance [...] to fire", could be situated "at the apex of the recipe triangle" (above the roasted), while steamed food, located further from the water than boiled, would be placed "halfway between the boiled and the smoked."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culinary_tria ngle    

The "and so forth." is where we are today, of course. 

In 1982, within the Edinburgh academic community, I was involved with anthropologists interested in the broad theme of this page which led to a publication of mine.  It was:

Making Sense of Cuisine: From Culinary Triangle to Pyramid using Lehrer’s Tetrahedron as a Stepping Stone

Anthropological Linguistics: Summer 1983

Making Sense of Cuisine

Food and Cookery Review: Vol. 51, No. 6, January 1985

which forms the Home title of this section of publications  http://www.gastronomyafharrison.co.uk/page249.php

Linguistics  ...
...  is the scientific study of human language.  Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields: the study of language form, that of language meaning, and that of language in a broader context.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics

Why study anthropology? 

Anthropology's basic concerns are "What defines Homo sapiens?", "Who are the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens?", "What are humans' physical traits?", "How do humans behave?", "Why are there variations and differences among different groups of humans?", "How has the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens influenced its social organization and culture?" and so forth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropology

Anthropological linguistics ... 

... is the study of the relations between language and culture and the relations between human biology, cognition and language. This strongly overlaps the field of linguistic anthropology, which is the branch of anthropology that studies humans through the languages that they use.


Anthropology in its infancy focused on primitive tribes. 




Today, it has modern appplication. 

We end this page with a light-hearted look at anthropology.  It is not to be taken seriously.

Supermarket Anthropology 

Here's a non-serious contribution to understanding anthropology which I might use elsewhere in my gastronomy writing.

The key quotations are:

"The supermarket is the truest expression of the urban jungle. Pay careful attention and you’re likely to spot the vast variety of behaviours that add spice to food shopping." 

" ... the grocery store is where the real “never-before-seen but critically important observations” regarding the human race and its evolution can be made. "

"It is about how it highlights so well the true and secret selves of the consumers. "

Will you recognise yourself as you read?

The following has been edited with the use of [...] and *.  American-English remains unchanged.



Perhaps it’s because I have the knack for selecting the line with the biggest holdup or the most confused patron/clerk, but I’ve accumulated a few observations in my years as a shopper that have lead [led] me to believe that the supermarket is truly the Mecca for people-watching. National Geographic, eat your heart out – the grocery store is where the real “never-before-seen but critically important observations” regarding the human race and its evolution can be made.

The supermarket is full of contradictions. It is an exercise in duality. It’s not just that it attempts to mimic the market with its freshly misted produce that has been sitting in warehouses filled with preservative gas for weeks, or the plastic “parsley” that lines the trays of take-out options. It is about how it highlights so well the true and secret selves of the consumers. While we may not speak to people other than the cashier at the checkout, our actions speak volumes, often more than we think.

Here are my top three supermarket genenra*.  [[[The change of background is beyond control.]]]

She peruses the aisles in work out [work-out] clothes, a scowl on her face, disgusted by the preservatives, MSG, and obvious lack of freshness. Every label is scrutinized and other than the products that say organic and antibiotic-free, her basket is minimally filled – she adheres to the school of shopping a few times a week in order to eat seasonally and with diversity. At the cash, a brief overview of your basket generally results in a look of sadness post a full examination of your bleak skin and evident lack of health, a consequence of your poor dietary choices. “When will people learn” is probably what’s going through her mind as she munches on a hemp-flavoured multigrain Brazilian rainforest fruit raw bar. Once her purchases are bleeped through and her total announced, she looks up from her bag and casually asks the cashier for a pack of cigarettes…


Every Sunday, when the new bag of flyers gets delivered, he makes it a point to sit down and carefully read the store specials, clip the coupons and take note of the new arrivals. Filling the wallet compartment specifically reserved for those much desired 50 cent rebates and buy-one-get-one offers, he ensures that no bargain is ever disregarded and all discounts are capitalized on. Once at the cash, he watches the tally on the screen like a hawk, verifying that all manufacturer and store fiscal promises are respected and has no problem arguing the discrepancies when they occur. He likes to take his time because he is entitled to do so, especially when it means savings are due. However, he always pays with $100 bills, never has any change and only shops at 6pm on Monday evenings during the big pre-dinner rush…  


My personal favourite is the cashier who is in full conversation with the other cashier, three aisles down. Hollering to each other, they discuss the minutia of their everyday. “Do you have change of a $50 bill? Are you working next Sunday? Can you believe that customer?” After the last question, that’s when the real conversation starts – a complete dissection of all the poor manners they encounter on a daily basis. They speak of customers that never look them in the eye, who rudely ask for lottery tickets, who forget to ask for car orders, who bitch about prices being high while they swipe their gold card in order to pay for their purchases, etc, etc. “Honestly” they ask each other in exasperated tones, “what’s wrong with the world today? People just have so little awareness of the impact of their behaviour and how this influences the quality of life of those around them”. I am particularly fond of being a sound barrier to this dialogue while watching the outraged cashier hurl my groceries across the scanner, throw my thin-skinned fruit down to the packer and chuck my canned goods on top of my lettuce greens inside the plastic bag that she ripped while grabbing it to stuff my purchases inside. That’s after she forgot to account for my coupon and didn’t let me ask for a withdrawal. Thanks Monique…


The supermarket is the truest expression of the urban jungle. Pay careful attention and you’re likely to spot the vast variety of behaviours that add spice to food shopping. It would just be too easy if all the cashiers were always free… And truthfully, if it wasn’t for the fickle fauna common to this environment who extend our time in line, when would we ever have a chance to read those tabloids we all deny enjoying?




"genenra Wiki" put into Google gives hundreds of results in [double]Dutch etc relating to chromosomes.  This writer probably meant to use the word "genera" which is the plural form of "genus" as in


All magnolias belong to the genus Magnolia.




More at  http://www.gastronomyafharrison.co.uk/page255.php

This is a related article I wrote in 1985.

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