Our world is full of diverse and interesting cultures. A variety of factors shape our cultures. For example, the clothes we wear, the languages we speak, the traditions we keep, and, of course, the food we eat. Local cuisine can tell you a lot about a culture, typically because its signature dishes consist of the prominent ingredients from the area.
Along with local ingredients, the staple foods of the various civilizations of the world are usually cooked in a way that is unique to the region too. This combination of distinct cooking styles and locally-sourced ingredients creates a particular flavor that is symbolic of the corresponding culture.
Some staple foods come to mind when you think about certain cultures. For example, nearly every Japanese meal includes soy sauce. And you will find corn as a staple on nearly every American table, especially during the Fourth of July.
TAKEAWAY: Did you know that ‘basmati’ in Hindi means ‘queen of fragrances’ due to its exceptional aroma? This traditional variety of rice is a symbol of community in India and Pakistan, and its first cultivation dates back to around 2,000 BCE in the foothills of the Himalayas. A number of traditional Indian foods use Basmati rice as the main ingredient.
Personal connections with staple foods
The reason food is so ingrained in culture is that cooking is a form of expression. People feel a special connection to the staple foods they grow up eating and sharing with their families. On the one hand, eating signature dishes can even provide comfort to those who live far away from their hometowns. On the other hand, for those who are just visiting a new area, typical meals can offer a glimpse into the local cuisine.
If you want to learn more about the different signature foods and ingredients from around the world, check out this infographic designed by Kitchen Cabinet Kings.
Photo Credit: SarahTz on Flickr.