Recipes are filled with sensory directions related to taste, appearance, texture, and smell, but less often to the sounds of food cooking. While cooking and eating, whether at home or in a restaurant, are recognized as sonic experiences, we are rarely specifically instructed to “listen in.” Some scholars argue that such skills cannot be written into recipes, but rather must be passed on in practice. While I largely agree with this claim, I was challenged to find exceptions in cookbooks. In this essay, I discuss some of the few but delightful examples of sonic instruction in recipes. I conclude that while sounds are rare in cookbooks, as these examples show, listening is a skill that provides valuable information in the kitchen.
The Hollow Knock and Other Sounds in Recipes
Anna Harris is an anthropologist interested in the sensory, bodily, material aspects of medical work, as well as in other practices such as cooking. She recently conducted an ethnographic study about how doctors are taught to listen to sounds of the body, part of a larger project at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, on sonic skills.
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Anna Harris; The Hollow Knock and Other Sounds in Recipes. Gastronomica 1 November 2015; 15 (4): 14–17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2015.15.4.14
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