‘Food grammar’: The culinary rules we love to make and break

Some say you don’t truly understand a culture until you speak the language. That could also be said for cuisine: If you’re born into it, you understand its unspoken rules. Similar to language, Atlas Obscura explained, food follows structural rules known as “food grammar.” For example, an Italian might question pairing meat and pasta because they tend to be served as separate courses. Food grammar provides insight into how a dish is prepared, what ingredients make it a meal, and how it’s served. While the rules vary from place to place, they are also made to be broken: Fusion cuisines could be seen as palatable “mistranslations” of two foods.

The Counter Stories by our editors.