Recipes and word order

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Fri Jun 21 18:18:05 UTC 2013

Recently, while exchanging recipes with a friend, I noticed something
which struck me as odd. I'm generally used to the rhetorical conventions
of recipes, but this recipe featured a word-order choice that I don't
recall seeing before. [I'm aware that that doesn't mean it's not
common.] Two sentences stood out. First, after prescribing a certain
combination of ingredients, the recipe continued:

"Stir well to mix and pour over the [chicken] stock."

At the end of the recipe were the words

"Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle over the Parmesan and serve."

In both sentences, my first impulse is to assume a tacit "it" just
before "over", but clearly it is the stock or Parmesan which is to be
poured/sprinkled over the (likewise tacit) object of the first clause. I
don't recall seeing that construction outside of recipes, or even *in*

Any thoughts?

Jim Parish

The American Dialect Society -

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