I love language and recipes because they are two of the greatest mysteries that I have encountered.
I try my best to explore the vast array of languages out there, but I'm still being amazed by my native tongue (English in all of its permutations), so I haven't progressed very far. Let me give you an example ...
You must pay $100 to the Farm if you don't show up to the activity without a valid reason.
Double negatives are not new to me, nor is this sentence in any way a big deal, by any stretch of the imagination; it is just that this particular sentence caused a sensation in my brain that felt almost new and kind of fascinating—like a short circuit, maybe. Matters only became more interesting when I read this in the corresponding Wikipedia article:
In standard written English, when two negatives are used in one sentence, the negatives are understood to cancel one another and produce a weakened affirmative. However, in many dialects, the second negative is employed as an intensifier and should be understood as strengthening the negation rather than removing it.
Boring? Oh well, I'm well and truly amazed; and it's this sense of the amazing that keeps me engaged with copyediting on Wikipedia. I don't really have a preferred topic, as I love the random directions that I get pulled in; directions that I would never have taken if not for Wikipedia. I just hope that the enormously diverse planet that I see through these articles will never, ever merge into a uniform beige.
Here is another example that continually creates a feeling of amazement within me: African American Vernacular English.
And yet another: paradox.
If that isn't enough: idiom.
Is the English language merely arbitrary, though?
Regardless of what is or is not arbitrary, I would loved to have been there when the concept of implicature was first coined by H. P. Grice. Or maybe a "fly on the wall" when Ferdinand de Saussure proposed the concept of connotation?
It is extraordinary how simplicity can create such amazing flavors and a feeling of satisfaction that is so essential following a meal; here is an example: bulgogi.
This is an example of a recipe that I can only enjoy when certain ingredients are combined; it must be served with red onion: Khao soi.