Recently I watched a television programme about Auguste Escoffier, the French chef who changed eating into dining, making the food of the rich not only opulent but delicious.

The programme reminded me that Escoffier was one of the innovative artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries  considered in Jonah Lehrer’s book  Proust was a Neuroscientist. It is surprising to find a cook alongside such practitioners of the high arts as Cezanne, Stravinsky and Virginia Woolf. The book argues that avant-garde artists of that period anticipated the findings of twenty-first century neuroscience, and Lehrer describes how Escoffier elevated eating into an art form by exploring the sense of taste. He invented haute cuisine. Continue reading


Nominalisation is a key feature in my analysis of abstract language. The school texts which I analysed for Breakthrough to Learning contained many instances of nouns made from verbs (processes, such as condensation from condense) and nouns made from adjectives (conditions, such as warmth from warm). This linguistic mechanism (together with metaphor) makes it possible to consider abstract entitities and the relationship between them. Continue reading