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Reasons why various national cuisines are what they are

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Reasons why various national cuisines are what they are

Paula | Aug 22, 2003 07:39 PM

I have read somewhere that 'Chinese cooking is famine cooking', which explained why the cuisine is known for cooking almost everything and anything that moves, and why it is cooked using very little oil to conserve on fuel. It’s rather interesting to extrapolate this to explain the cuisine of other cultures as well, whose origins can be obvious or intriguing. French cooking, I’ve heard it said, is peasant cooking. I've heard the explanation that the availability of cows explains the vast number of cheeses and butter sauces they have invented. The Japanese fondness for fish is explained by the proximity of an rich supply of sea creatures in their readily accessible waters. I wonder how one would give an explanation of why British food is the way it is, with its famous fried fish and chips, (and why it's not very ocean-oriented, as Japanese cuisine is!) or why German cooking is so hearty with potatoes and sausages, or why many southeast Asian cuisines are so spicy, or why so many famous Italian dishes seem to be associated with pasta, and why tomato sauce has flourished as a base for dishes there when I thought it was the Spanish that brought tomatoes over from the new world.

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