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Classifying Basically Every Food

If you’ve thought about food as much as I have, it’s probable you’ve also thought about the way we classify foods. Quite frankly, our separation of foods is nonsensical at its worst and inconsistent at best. I could go on a several-hour long tangent about how illogical it is that anyone would want to cook rice in anything besides a dedicated rice cooker or how strange it is that there are apparently over 40,000 types of rice. “Oh, but wait!” I hear you whining with your beta-male, high-pitched, falsetto voice, “the classification of rice is not merely a result of arbitrary culinary practice, but rather a scientific distinction!” And sure, that might be true. It might be supported by reliable and factual evidence. However, my gut tells me there’s something inherently wrong with society if some food scientist can compile a list of 39,999 types of rice and genuinely think to themselves: “Yeah this isn’t enough. One more should do it.”

So, prepare for this article to challenge your expectations, change everything you think you know about the world, and upturn the coffee grounds in the espresso machine that is your mind, because I’m about to definitively Classify Basically Every Food on Earth baby! YEAAs

To start, allow me to clarify that this guide will not delve into every food specifically but rather every dish, which is a preparation of food served as part of a meal. Classifying food itself gets convoluted and generally messy very fast because while a human leg might not seem like food to you or I, I’m sure a cannibal would find it quite an appetising afternoon snack. Additionally, dishes will be categorised depending on the location of their starch.


1. Soups

This category of food is probably the most ambiguous by definition and comes in two states of matter: solid and liquid. As cool as gaseous soup would be, we are still but humans limited by the rate of technological innovation. So what belongs in this category? Besides the obvious candidates, things like chocolate, and even most types of salad. What mainly characterises soups is their lack of starch and the fact that they are a mixture of ingredients. You might be asking, ‘What? Why would salad be classified as a soup? Or chocolate? That’s just dumb. And why do I experience no joy in the world?’ Well, allow me to retort with a question of my own: Is a salad naught but a dry soup? Is chocolate naught but solidified chocolate soup? Did your parents give you enough attention as a child? Most, if not all of you, are likely already pacing the room in anger reading this hot take, but I advise you to compose yourself as I’ve barely just started.

2. Toasts

The category of toasts contains some of the most beloved foods and is defined by the starch being on only one plane, forming the base of the dish. The toppings on toast can vary widely and, more often than not, change the food’s nature. Certain types of cookies exemplify the fundamentals of toast as a category very well, with sugar or gingerbread cookies having one unbroken, flat piece of starch garnished with icing or sprinkles, what have you. In truth, an inoffensive, somewhat uninteresting yet pleasant category.

3. Tacos

This category of tacos can almost be called a subset of toasts, but with one distinct difference. The starch in taco-classified foods is wrapped around the dish, meaning it is on 3 planes as opposed to just one. Items in this category are peculiar in that they bridge the boundaries between what defines toast and a sandwich, which I’m sure has been a topic of fervent debate at some point. This food group applies to dishes such as hot dogs, uh, and uhh. I kind of ran out of ideas. Nobody said classifying every food would be easy, just that it had to be done.

4. Sandwiches

Sandwiches are staple of mainly Western culture, where the starch in the dish is located on opposite ends of another food in between. This can be anything at all from meat to the cream of an Oreo, kale (if you live a sad life), or Gordon Ramsay’s titular ‘idiot sandwich’. Theoretically, if you and a friend living on opposite sides of the globe were to place a piece of bread on the ground, you would effectively be making an Earth sandwich, with all 7 billion people in the world as extra flavour. That’s what I call a tasty treat.

5. Calzones

Calzones are the kinder eggs of food, which is somewhat ironic since kinder eggs should be the kinder eggs of food but are not calzones. If that made any sense. Calzones can be identified by the starch completely surrounding the food inside it, including but not limited to: pop-tarts, buns, dumplings, and cream puffs.

6. Rolls

Rolls are defined by the starch of the food surrounding the ingredients inside, somewhat similar to a taco except with a little more commitment.

7. Porridge

Porridge is a mixture of a viscous substance and an evenly distributed starch, kind of like how I evenly distribute my sick disses to all my haters out there. Foods in this category include, but are not limited to: cereal, porridge, oatmeal porridge, or a soup with a lot of croutons.

The Earth is an incomprehensibly large place that we may never hope to fully understand, but we can learn to appreciate a little more about each other’s cultures through cuisine. Better yet, now that you’ve read this article you can confidently claim to classify any food out there, which I suppose is a fun skill to show off at dinner parties. Do people even have dinner parties anymore? Hopefully, this guide has changed some aspects of how you view the world and its food, or perhaps shone a light into what exactly occupies the depths of my mind. Thank you for reading!


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