There are a lot of advantages to living in a connected world. Maybe one of the best is the ability to enjoy food from all over the world any time you want. If you’re an adventurous eater this is a great time to be alive.
A good way to learn more about the cultures that developed your favorite cuisines is to make them yourself. The Kitchen Community can be a good resource for information on different types of cuisines to try. Learning how communities used what they had at hand to make amazing meals is a great way to learn about history, and maybe build a little bit of those types of communities around yourself. Here are a few ways that communities shaped their foods, and vice versa.
Many of the regional foods found around the world are the result of people making the best food that they could out of whatever happened to be around. One example of this is the popular American version of the Italian-originated pizza. While this is now a favorite for families and movie nights, in its original form it was a combination of foods that might have otherwise gone to waste.
Another example of economical food becoming a regional favorite is smoked barbecue brisket. This cut of meat was considered less desirable, so it was less expensive. People who couldn’t afford steaks and rib roasts learned how slowly smoking this supposedly substandard cut of meat could transform it into something delicious.
Many eastern European foods are best made in large batches. Think long lengths of linked sausages or vats of sauerkraut fermenting in a cellar. These are great ways to preserve food and keep much-needed calories so you can eat well through the long winter. But they take a lot of work. The process to make these foods is more than one family could do alone. This resulted in communities and families coming together to make large batches of food. These events became traditions, and the communities grew around them. Working together to help each other survive a common challenge brought people together.
A lot of the world’s favorite foods are saved for special occasions. If you celebrate Hannukah, you’ll be familiar with latkes. If you’re not familiar with them, you should be. Not only are they delicious, but they are also a community tradition.
Another holiday tradition is lefse, a sweet dish with Norwegian roots. Or the Polish paczki, a fried, filled pastry, similar to a filled donut, but different enough to be a special treat to celebrate the beginning of Lent.
In the Philippines, a dish brought out for celebrations is Lechon, which is slow-roasted pork stuffed with spices. Not only is this a popular dish, everyone knows it means celebration.
There are a lot of reasons to explore the world of food. Tasting and enjoying the foods is only one of them. There is so much to learn about the world, and the ways food shaped it.