There are many ‘food facts’ you can find online or in books, and they often leave you feeling either squeamish about what you’re eating, or just plain confused! In this piece from Callthecaterer, we’re not going to put you off your food or even confuse you, we’re going to shed some light on some food myths and legends, to enlighten and entertain you! After reading this, we hope it encourages you to think about food in more abstract ways, and look for why and how we eat the foods we do.
In this food facts piece, we’re going to look at food cultures and what we perceive as ‘foreign food’, we’ll also talk about why we have certain sayings about food, such as ‘A baker’s dozen.’
Read on for more facts that you didn’t know about food!
Japanese food isn’t all about the sushi…
When we go down to the local sushi bar, we’re used to seeing little rice balls, salmon, beef strips, miniature noodles and a whole host of exciting and delicious foods. But did you know that this isn’t the typical sort of sushi that you’d find in Japan? In fact, the sushi in Japan is mainly fish, wrapped in seaweed and rice. This dish is called Nigiri, not sushi!
But it isn’t just the type of sushi and the name that has gotten lost in translation; it’s also the image of sushi as a Japanese staple. In reality, the Japanese will only eat Sushi, or ‘Nigiri’, a few times a year on special occasions. It seems that we’ve taken these stereotypes and customs and turned them into something completely different. I suppose you could compare it to our Sunday Roast, we wouldn’t eat it every single day, yet when we think of a traditional meal, we think potatoes, beef and gravy.
It can be funny how traditions and elements of another country’s culture can be magnified and blown out of proportion, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing here with Sushi and our perception of Japanese culture.
What ‘A baker’s dozen’ actually means.
We all know that a dozen means twelve, it’s fairly common knowledge and used in our day to day lives often. But we also know that a baker’s dozen means thirteen. So what happened here? Is the baker unable to add up? Or was there just a mistake that got passed down through generations of the baking family business? Well, in the next section, we’re going to bust the myth and see if it is actually true, and why.
The truth behind this tale is not of an under educated baker, nor is it of any ‘silly mistake’ that was never corrected. The story behind the baker’s dozen is in fact one of shock and awe, fear and justice, and crimes against the law.
In ancient Egypt and other parts of Africa and Asia, a baker could find himself sentenced to having his hand chopped off if he got his order wrong. He could even find himself having his ear nailed to the door of the bakery if ever there were any problems with his loaves – a little bit of an overreaction? We think so too.
Similar laws were put in place across Europe, and so bakers across the country grew cautious and began to over produce and over-satisfy with their orders to be sure of never breaking the law and facing serious punishment. This is where the baker’s dozen comes from; they would produce one more than twelve so as to never run the risk of having a hand chopped off, or something equally as horrible. We’re glad that’s not the way it is today!