Food for thought – or, what’s (in) a recipe?

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This paper focuses on the text type of cooking instructions, or recipes, from a chiefly diachronic point of view. After giving a brief overview on both the etymological origins and semantic developments of the notion recipe, we will compare two recipes with regard to formal and functional similarities and discrepancies: one Middle English recipe (“Beef y-Stywyd”, MS. Harl. 279 f. 6v) by an anonymous scribe with its Modern English online counterpart (“beef and ale stew”) by the British chef James ‘Jamie’ Oliver. Opposed to findings by e.g. Görlach (2004), particularly the functional comparison remains mostly obscure, as the medieval recipe escapes functional classification. However, remarkable text type specific parallels can be identified with regard to formal aspects, such as syntactic constructions and lexical codification.


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