This paper explores recipes and food writing from the perspective of linguistics——or, more specifically, pragmatics. It looks briefly at the discourse of recipes, at how they work and what kinds of linguistic structures are typically involved. The main theme of the paper, however, is that the best food writing is as much about the images and feelings the writer wants to conjure in the mind of the reader as it is about the words it contains, or the way that discourse is set out. In order to shed any real light on recipe writing, then, we need to explain how they manage to convey moods, impressions, emotions, and feelings. We need to go beyond the words. The paper features examples from, among others, the work of Elizabeth David and Edouard de Pomaine, serving to illustrate the theoretical points made.
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