On the Origin of Recipe

Recipe is a funny word. It looks nothing like it is pronounced, but if we spelled it as “ressippee”, the redundancy of letters alone would seem wasteful.

Today, we use recipe to mean the written directions required to prepare specific foods, but this is not its first meaning. It’s original meaning had more of a relationship with medicine than with delicious morsals.

Ritalin-SR-20mg-1000x1000According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, recipe comes from the Latin word of the same spelling (recipe) which means, “take!” The word is a second person imperitive spoken as a command. It was written at the top of a doctor’s prescription note to a patient.

The figurative meaning that we know and love today didn’t come about until the mid-1700’s. It’s original meaning exists only as the Rx that you see at pharmacies.

VernorsThat said, it is pretty easy to see how the meaning of the word jumped from medicine to food. After all, how many parents swear by chicken noodle soup for colds or warm ginger ale for upset stomachs?

And who can forget the old saying, “Feed the flu, feed a cold”? Actually, I don’t think that’s how it goes, but I’m a big fan of food, so that’s how I’ll remember it.

If you are also a fan of food and you were hope for some recipes in this post, I’d hate to let you down. So here are some delicious dishes that you should try some time. Take them!


3 thoughts on “On the Origin of Recipe

  1. In manufacturing and in medicine recipe is still used to mean a list of ingredients and process to make. While most commonly thought of in connection with food within the general public it does rather depend upon your context. I wonder, for example, if Uncle Gary has “recipes” for certain types of glass? Most of the ones I know/knew were propriety and required signing confidentiality agreements within the corporate settings. Just FYI. PS. Now I think food too.

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