Tag Archives: theory

The salad-soup continuum

I don’t really believe in recipes and am incapable of following them (except when baking and sometimes not even then). Recipes are suggestions, in my view, best read for their theoretical contribution and not to be taken literally. Nobody should measure parsley; that’s ridiculous.

One of my primary theoretical, and also practical, interests is salad. Anything can be in a salad. French salads were a real eye-opener for me; you can literally pile anything on a plate and bam, it’s a salad. Nachos are a salad. Etc.

So when we contemplate the category of a dip, we are really looking at a thickened salad dressing. Consider the salsa. It is a salad…it is also a dip. Tweaked slightly, it is also a soup. And what to say about pesto? Salads, dips, and soups are homotopy-equivalent: each space can be continuously deformed into the next, usually with the help of a blender.

For example, by changing the proportion of solid and liquid ingredients and chopping or blending as needed, the following can be a salad, a dip, a vinaigrette (very close to the classic one you get on salads at Japanese restaurants), or a soup (with added water or broth):

  • roast carrots
  • roast garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • spring onions
  • jalapeño peppers
  • tamari (or soy sauce)
  • lime juice
  • fresh cilantro (“coriander leaves”)

I like this best as a dip, but it clearly occupies the entire salad-soup continuum. A lot of combinations are like this. Think about it.

Then eat it.

Things that look like regular words but are really technical terms

I saw a paper on “Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid” on Twitter this morning (via Sarah Rose Cavanaugh), and it made me think I should post something very slightly related, viz. this short handout for undergrad English majors, which I originally put together for the Lit 1860-1945 course that I taught last fall. Terms include “deconstruction,” “Symbolic order,” and “male gaze.”

E.g.:

male gaze A visual orientation structured by gender that treats the female body as spectacle. Women can occupy the male gaze; in fact, that is what classic narrative cinema requires female viewers to do, since the camera is structured by the male gaze.
source: Laura Mulvey, “Visual Cinema and Narrative Pleasure,” 1975
associated with: psychoanalytic film theory
does not mean: a male point of view, any particular man’s perspective

(see also…)