zaterdag 4 oktober 2014

AEAR (Average Etymological Age of a Recipe)

One can take a random recipe, like Jamie 'proper delish' Oliver's rainbow salad wrap, and look up the year each ingredient entered the English language. It would result in the following etymological timetable:


With this data you are able to calculate the AEAR or Average Etymological Age of a Recipe. As the word 'average' says it is derived at by dividing the grand total of years by the number of ingredients. For Oliver's salad wrap the AEAR is a respectable 1329. It is bogus, of course, but it is a way to add a metric to recipes (or entire cookbooks) that few will have experimented with. With good reason I hear you say.

The following graph shows the AEAR of 77 historic cookbooks published between 1390 and 1936. In those 546 years the AEAR went up with only 220 years. The vertical line is for AEAR, horizontal is for year of publication of the cookbook.

For the period after 1936 cookbooks within the public domain are scarce but for with a little help from our friends from the Pirate Bay we can add Nigella Lawson's Express (2007). The trend line does not move visibly but the book is way above the trend. She scores a AEAR of 1359. Between 1390 and 2007 (so between the Forme of Cury and Nigella Lawson), a period of 617 years the AEAR went up 326 years. These numbers one could once again compile to calculate relative growth rates per decade or century but this I will leave to a PhD with the time and the inclination who can than proceed to theorize about punctuated etymological equilibriums. 

The challenge is this: who can find the newest and the oldest recipe as measured by AEAR? 

Can you beat the AEAR of this recipe for "Teriyaki tofu wrap with macadamia roasted garlic spread" which is an impressive 1461?!

Map your Recipe can calculate.

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