In this chapter we explain the structure of the taxonomy and the meaning of each of the taxonomic criteria within it. To do so, we divide it into two large sections.
The first part is dedicated to the most general concepts, applicable to all unelaborated products. At the outset, we differentiate between living beings and inorganic materials, each group containing a set of realms in which products with common characteristics are included. This criterion is developed from the classification of the kingdoms of living beings, for which we make a liberal adaptation, without scientific rigour, that results in a more simplified and comprehensible model.
Within the different realms there are various subclassifications. Firstly, we consider the habitat and/or context responsible for a demarcation of the physical environment in which each product develops. Then we look at the matter of domestication, which establishes whether a product is wild or cultivated, or if it is a wild or bred species. To conclude this section, we define the concept of morphological levels and the group of levels that pertain to a product, the aspect which constitutes the most significant part of the taxonomy and its most important contribution.
Some criteria have not been easy to contextualise with regard to the gastronomic field and its wide diversity of products. For ease of understanding, a series of annexed comments have been included to explain, for example, the relevance of domestication on the characteristics of a product, or to give more detail about the anatomy of certain organisms to demonstrate how the criterion has been adapted for morphological levels.
In the second, more concrete and specific section of this chapter we describe in detail each of the six realms that make up the taxonomy, starting with the world of plants and concluding with that of water.