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Author Topic: "Alchemical" Symbols for cooking/baking, Ideas?  (Read 2347 times)
Snr. Officer
Germany Germany

« on: May 22, 2011, 08:44:55 pm »


Inspired by the recent thread about Alchemical Symbols and Fonts (,30846.0.html) I came up with the idea of creating a set of symbols for recipies. If you check out Reply #8 in the linked thread, there are symbols for some normal processes (mix, ...) and ingredients (Sugar, Honey, Oils,..).
But of course, for a lot of things, symbols are missing, and I am currently trying to come up with a system of symbols for those additional things. One could of course draw some random symbols, and give them meanings, but that is kind of boring and you need a list of symbols all the time, and it is hard to create a new one, that may be understood without knowing all the symbols. On the other hand, simply drawing pictogramms of fruits and animals is not "cryptic" enough and doesn't fit with the style of other symbols.
For animals, one could use some basic set of parts of symbols that give information about the kind of animal, added to a basic shape and maybe additional, individual information.
The symbol for cow could have "bits" that say "landanimal, horns, big".
Sheep would have "landanimal" and an individual, wooly additional pattern.
Swine would be "round shape?, eats everything, mid-size" maybe? Or a completely individual symbol, like the snout.
Deer, moose, ... would have maybe antlers and different size-modifiers, maybe a symbol for "non-domesticated"?
With fish one may still be able to find enough individual details that can be shown for most species.
Difficult things:
-fruits? All I can think of is simply a drawing of a specimen
-already processed stuff, like milk products or gelatine. One could give a short description of the process, that would give the general idea, but what about different kinds of cheese or similar?

All input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Best Regards,
here for the old technology and related stuff. Still learning english --> please correct me if I make bigger mistakes.
Zeppelin Admiral
United States United States

« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 10:05:36 pm »

Actually the animals might be fairly simple, seeing as a lot of animals have mythical or astrological symbols ascribed to them. Alchemist often used the symbols of existing belief systems to represent them. There are symbols for weights and measures, And individial sections of the animal can be denoted by symbols for 'the first part' some body part designation symbols from personel/metaphysical aspects, or other means.

Colours also have a lot of representation. Red meats, white fish, dark meat, ect. These wouldn't be too hard to designate.

Symbolse of dairy products might not be as hard as you think. Yogurt is simple a form of fermented milk, milk should have an existing symbol already, and fermentation is an alchemical step. Cheese are a fermented and coagulated milk, again all being things with representation in alchemy.

Gelatin could be represented by the process of maceration (a process in herbal alchemy where chopped plant cellulose is allowed to soak in solution until it breaks down into a sludge) of a given animal, or plant (agar agar, seaweed, ect).

When plants are used in alchemy (which is a big part of the feild) you more often see latin names of given plants and occasionally a few symbols for common derivatives and portions of plants used. But a great many plants have representations in mythologies and symbolism.

I could forsee a cook book with ingrediants lists done in a few symbols with some latin names, over a poetic description while the oposite page has and aligorical illustration of the process, sort of like the emerald tablets.

There are paths in alchemy for the work that are designated the dry path and the wet path, referring in many cases to hot processing of powders and salts, or acids and solutions. So dry ingrediants and liquid mixtures would be easy enough.

The double boilers and gradations of heat can also be found.

For your plants, start by looking to see if there are existing mythical symbols and the look into herbalism to see if there are other representations. With alchemists such as Paracelsus, herbalism was a huge aspect of alchemy and vice versa.

Snr. Officer
Germany Germany

« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2011, 11:22:05 pm »

Thanks for the information!
Colour is an interesting idea, and it seems that I have to investigate about the mythical symbols for animals... except for the zodiac I don't know any...
With cheeses really the different kinds seem difficult without needing a lot of description... but on the other hand, most recipes work with a general group, and do not need a really specific one.
And yeah, latin names for the plants were the alternative plan. Will try to find some old herbalism sources, too.
Maybe I should simply start writing some recipes down and see were I run into problems...
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