Ketchup began as a fermented fish sauce from China's Fujian province: ke for fermented fish, tchup for sauce. The British were the first to add tomatoes to their anchovy "catsup" in 1817. A century later, Heinz changed the spelling again-and added sugar.
In The Language of Food, Dan Jurafsky opens a panoramic window onto everything from the modern descendants of ancient recipes to the hidden persuasion in restaurant reviews. Combining history with linguistic analysis, Jurafsky uncovers a global atlas of premodern culinary influence: why we toast to good health at dinner and eat toast for breakfast and why the Chinese don't have a word for "dessert". Engaging and eclectic, Jurafsky's study reveals how everything from medieval meal order to modern menu design informs the way we drink and dine today. Tuck in!