Explore the Fascinating Origins of Popular Culinary Terms

Stevemart, Shutterstock
Stevemart, Shutterstock / Stevemart, Shutterstock

The terms we use to describe the food we eat aren't always self-explanatory. Take baker's dozen as an example. You may know that the phrase actually means 13, but the fact that it comes from a law meant to regulate bakeries in 13th-century Britain may be news to you. In the 1260s, King Henry III passed a law punishing bread-makers who sold loaves that failed to meet a minimum weight threshold. To get around the regulations, bakers began adding extra loaves to orders of a dozen, thus bringing the total weight up to legal levels.

In the latest episode of Food History, host Justin Dodd explores the origins of baker's dozen and other culinary terms that are commonly used today. From the scientific background of umami to the artist behind carpaccio, the stories of food terms are as diverse as the dishes they describe.

If you're looking to broaden your culinary vocabulary, check out the new video below. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on the latest episodes of Food History and more shows from Mental Floss.