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烹调中的齐普夫定律  

2008-08-25 09:42:37|  分类: My Life |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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原文来自MathDL

Evolutionary Modeling of National Cuisines Reveals a Remarkable Stability

August 25, 2008

Mathematical modeling of the evolution of three national cuisines suggests that today's culinary tastes are largely the same as they were about 100 years. The idiosyncrasies of British, French, and Brazilian cooking have remained largely intact, despite many other cultural changes in those countries over the years. We are what our ancestors ate.

Osame Kinouchi, Adriano J. Holanda, Antonio C. Roque, Rosa W. Diez-Garcia, and Pedro Zambianchi of the University of S?o Paulo came to this conclusion by researching recipes and ingredients from the medieval cookbook Pleyn Delit as well as several editions of more modern volumes: The New Penguin Cookery Book, Larousse Gastronomique, and Do?a Benta. Their results appear in the paper "The Non-Equilibrium Nature of Culinary Evolution," published in the New Journal of Physics.

The researchers examined the cookbooks, using the number of ingredients in dishes and the number of recipes published in each cookbook as variables. The authors discovered that one important factor that influenced national cuisines is the "founder effect." In biology, the term refers to the loss of genetic diversity when a new colony is established by a small number of individuals from a larger population. Traits that happen to dominate among the individuals play a disproportionately large role in the new colony. Applied to foods, the founder effect may explain why idiosyncratic ingredients continue to be part of national cuisines.

In three editions (1946, 1969, and 2004) of the Brazilian cookbook Do?a Benta, they found that the rank and importance of an idiosyncratic ingredient such as chayote, for instance, remained much the same over the years. The prevalence of certain improbable local ingredients, the authors noted, are like frozen "cultural" accidents.

The researchers also discovered that the statistical hierarchy of ingredients in each country's cookbook can be represented by Zipf's law: the frequency of each food item being inversely proportional to its rank in the frequency table. The authors found that this statistical distribution holds true for each cookbook, with the idiosyncratic ingredients having higher positions in the national lists. By comparing ingredients with similar rankings across the cookbooks, the authors concluded that national menus evolve in similar ways.

So, next time you're enjoying an English breakfast, an Aussie BBQ, an American hamburger, a German sausage, or a Canadian pancake, consider the evolutionary reasons for what you're doing.


PS:
奇普夫定律——齐普夫定律是美国学者G.K.齐普夫于本世纪40年代提出的词频分布定律。它可以表述为:如果把一篇较长文章中每个词出现的频次统计起来,按照高频词在 前、低频词在后的递减顺序排列,并用自然数给这些词编上等级序号(rank),即频次最高的词等级为1,频次次之的等级为2,……,频次最小的词等级为D。若用f表示 频次,r表示等级序号,则有fr=C(C为常数)。人们称该式为齐普夫定律。

调料或者材料只要能用,好用,自然用的次数就会比较多。用的次数多了,传播的范围自然也就广了。传播的广了,在历史浪潮中保留下来的可能性就大了。既然能保留下来,那么用的频率肯定就会不断增加。
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