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By Paco Asencio

Sopa gained ton- received ton frito- Gambas salteadas- Rollitos de buey de mar- Marisco de concha fina con puerro frito- Rollito de primavera...

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A final note of physical relevance to foodways and food anthropology is the existence of human taste abilities and taste preferences. indd 19 4/18/14 10:06 AM 22770 20 Chapter 1 those three things are easy to obtain. But humans also love a wide range of vegetable tastes, fruit flavors, and textures ranging from crisp to soft. Humans everywhere also like certain spicy and herbal tastes (Billing and Sherman 1998). This might seem strange, since spices feel hot or even burning and are not major nutrition sources, but Billig and Sherman showed that most (if not all) of them are powerful antiseptic and antifungal agents and have other medicinal values.

On the other hand, there are some very deep and basic cognates, including the word for milk. The word for water is close—​­su in Turkic, us in modern Mongol—​­but Chinese is similar too (shui from earlier söi or swu). Perhaps we are looking at a very ancient common origin and a great deal of subsequent mutual influence. In any case, the idea that Turkic, Mongol, and Tungusic are related in an Altaic phylum seems extremely shaky, if not downright defunct (Vovin 2005). Color words are as confusing as in English: just as English has half Germanic (blue, white) and half French (violet, purple), modern Mongol has basically Turkic loans for black, yellow, and deep blue, but utterly un-­Turkic words for white, red, and gray, and even a thoroughly un-­Turkic word for blue (now used for pale blue).

Millet reached Taiwan by 3,000–­2500 BCE; a recent find revealed large amounts of foxtail millet and rice at Nan-­kuan-­li. This and related sites probably represent the ancestors of today’s Austronesian-­speaking “aborigines” of Taiwan, recently arrived from south China with seeds in hand (Tsang 2005). indd 23 4/18/14 10:06 AM 22770 24 Chapter 1 nesian peoples today (Bellwood 1997, 2002, 2005; Donohue and Denham 2010 dispute this, but Bellwood has a very effective answer in the commentary section of their article).

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