What are some examples of traditional food?

What are some examples of traditional food?

Traditional foods greatly depend on the history of the region you are in.

In Ethiopia, injera is a traditional sourdough flatbread, in the Southeastern United States barbecue is a traditional cuisine that actually transcends the aboriginal populations that roamed these regions before colonization. Traditional food is an extension of the history of the land, and thus any land one may be on had indigenous populations and heirloom plants that contributed to the culinary advancement of that food. Traditional food is a story, it is a gift from generation to the next. In essence, your grandmother’s soup is a traditional food because it has been passed down through the generations to you!

ribs.jpg

That said traditional food does not always originate in one land or group of people sometimes it is a combination. The traditional pastas of Italy have an interesting story, some believe pasta originated in Asia and arrived in Italy in the 13th Century by Marco Polo. Tomatoes also are not Italian, the tomato is a South American fruit that was also brought to Italy by adventurers. So the pasta that we think of when we think Italian food eg; Spaghetti & Meatballs, Linguini Alfredo, etc. May very well have traditional recipes from grandfathers/mothers past, but the ingredients didn’t even originate there! Who would have thought that something from one side of the world would work so well with something from a completely opposite side of the world and come together in between!

Marco-Polo-and-Writing-635.jpg

Here are some other examples of traditional food:

  • Tourtiere is a French-Canadian meat pie.
  • Challah is a Jewish bread.
  • Lox is a vital part of the Ashkenazi culture.
  • Ciba is a Sichuan rice cake.
  • Faggot is meat off-cut like heart, belly, and liver served in South Wales.
  • Fish and Chips is a UK dish.
  • Haggis is Scotch.
  • Garnatalg is a Faroe Island sausage.
  • Black Forest Ham from Germany.
  • Puerco Iberico de Bellota from Spain, Portugal, and Andorra.
  • Hakari is Icelandic Shark.
  • Fiambre a salad from Guatemala’s Dia de los Muertos.
  • Gudeg is an unripe jackfruit stew from Yogyakarta in the Java region of Indonesia.
  • Dizi is a hearty mutton stew thickened with chickpeas from Persia.
  • Prosciutto is Italian aged pork.
  • Mochi is a Japanese rice dessert.
  • Nurungji is scorched rice from Korea.
  • Garudiya is a clear fish stock from the Maldives.
  • Capirotada is a Mexican bread pudding.
  • Dhindo is a Nepalese meal.
  • Hininy is from Najd in Saudi Arabia.
  • Hainanese is Singapore’s national dish.
  • Borona is a Basque bread made of corn.
  • Imam Bayildi from Turkey.
  • Malewa smoked bamboo shoot from Uganda.
  • Lap lap from Vanuatu.
  • Kabsa from Yemen.
  • In the Commonwealth Caribbean Rice & Peas is traditional food.
  • Kraftskiva is a crayfish party celebrated in Scandinavia.
  • Low Country Boil is a Southeastern USA tradition.
  • Scoured Milk is a Bantu Tribe tradition.

Culinary Deities: The Gods & Goddesses of Food, pt. 1

Culinary Deities: The Gods & Goddesses of Food, pt. 1

Why should we look into how food has morphed our religions over the years?

It is vitally important to maintain cultural knowledge! Gods & Goddesses can be a source of inspiration for how we think bout, interact with, & eat food.

"Killing an animal and eating it's flesh traditionally has been considered a sacred act, which is why- in ancient Greece, Israel, and many other cultures - the roles of butcher and priest often blended together: holy men killed animals at the altar according to sacred protocols, offered burnt offerings to their God or gods, and then distributed the remaining meat to the crowd."
This blog series is inspired by Mark Essig's words in the book, "Lesser Beast."

Huixtocihuatl, The Aztec Fertility Goddess of Salt & Water

Salt has always been vital to food production & preservation prior to the advent of refrigeration, and of major fixation to humans being that it is the only rock we all consume. One surprising finding of mine is that salt is also associated with fertility and sexual desire.

salt.jpg

Salax from Roman Latin means a man in love. Salacious means treating sexual matters in an indecent way and typically conveying undue interest in or enjoyment of the subject (from google dictionary.) Both words contain the prefix Sal which translates to salt in Latin and a few other romance languages which were decedents of Latin.

In Mark Kurlansky's book, aptly named, "Salt" he says,

"In 1912, (Ernest) Jones published an essay about the human obsession with salt- a fixation that he found irrational and subconsciously sexual... Jones further built his case: Celibate Egyptian priests abstained from salt because it excited sexual desire; in Borneo, when Dayak tribesmen returned from taking heads, the abstinence from both sex and salt was required... In Behar, India Nagin women, sacred prostitutes known as "wives of the snake god," periodically abstained from salt and went begging. Half their proceeds were given to the priests and half to buying salt and sweetmeats for the villagers."

Salt being a source of wealth and symbol of sex it's natural that numerous religions worshiped salt as a female deity.

  Beautiful Note from the Ocmulgee Bank of the State of Georgia issued in 1837. This historic document was printed by the Rawdon, Wright & Hatch Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of Hippocampi pulling a shell chariot that holds Neptune and Salacia.

Beautiful Note from the Ocmulgee Bank of the State of Georgia issued in 1837. This historic document was printed by the Rawdon, Wright & Hatch Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of Hippocampi pulling a shell chariot that holds Neptune and Salacia.

The Romans knew her as Salacia goddess of the sea and wife of Neptune, to the ancient Greek's she was Amphitrite wife of Poseidon, and the Egyptians considered salt in itself divine because of its huge role in mummification. Given this understanding of salt, Egyptians & other ancient cultures considered salt a bridge between life and death, salt having power in both realms.

 Depiction of Huixtocihuatl

Depiction of Huixtocihuatl

The Aztecs seemed to believe the same; blessing their goddess of salt and salt water with the name Huixtocihuatl. Not much is known about Huixtocihuatl aside from: 

"One interpretation of the myths surrounding Huixtochiuatl says she gained control over sea water when she was having a fight with the Tlaloque and they threw all their salt water at her[2] and Chalchiuhtlicue, sister of the Tlaloques were her sisters, or, in some sources, the younger sister of Tlaloc in an attempt to drown her.
In June, there was a ten-day festival in her honor. During the festival, one woman was considered to be the embodiment of Huixtochiuatl. That woman would be sacrificed by the end of the festival.[3] Salt makers would honor her with dances."

Quote taken from wikipedia. 

It is interesting though, the connection of salt and fertility. Maybe, that's why food is a community builder, stimulating, and a unifying sustenance, just a conjecture. Food for thought. 

All the best,

Graham Calabria

Gloves: To Wear or Not To Wear

Gloves: To Wear or Not To Wear

Most of you may not realize this, but I'd rather eat food from a clean hand than a dirty glove.

The reason?

        Everybody has distinct microbes personalized to the individual, gloves can offer a false sense of protection, less hand washing that can lead to food borne pathogens, however not all bacteria are bad! What does this mean? The same ingredients and techniques can be applied to any chef in the world (with clean hands) and it will taste completely different based on the microbial climate of the individual! Especially when it comes to baking, just another fun fact to make you think about where you get your food. 

A word of warning: Any wound, open sores or lesions should always be covered by liquid bandage or a band-aid, in conjunction with nitrile or latex gloves and/or finger cots.

Written by Chef Graham Calabria