Osame Kinouchi, Rosa W Diez-Garcia, Adriano J Holanda, Pedro Zambianchi, Antonio C Roque
||New Journal of Physics, 2008, Vol.10 (7)
||Institute of Physics Journal
Food is an essential part of civilization, with a scope that ranges from the biological to the economic and cultural levels. Here, we study the statistics of ingredients and recipes taken from Brazilian, British, French and Medieval cookery books. We find universal distributions with scale invariant behaviour. We propose a copy-mutate process to model culinary evolution that fits our empirical data very well. We find a cultural 'founder effect' produced by the non-equilibrium dynamics of the model. Both the invariant and idiosyncratic aspects of culture are accounted for by our model, which may have applications in other kinds of evolutionary processes.