Features of national cuisines


Features of national cuisines


National traditions are a historically formed set of customs, rituals, habits and skills passed on from generation to generation - something that clearly distinguishes us among representatives of other nations and, therefore, can serve as a source of special pride and almost sacred veneration. Undoubtedly, the most important element of the traditions of all countries is the national cuisine, which originates practically from the time of the birth of peoples and ethnic groups.



The secrets of national cuisine as an invaluable element of the culture of the people are often not only carefully kept, but also kept secret. In Italy, no one will tell you the real secret of making delicious pasta, the Chinese will not share with you the national recipe of snake meat or shark fin dishes, and it is not worth talking about French cuisine, which has long been considered the most aristocratic in the world.



Pasta formaggelle galluresi (culurgiones) with fresh tomato sauce, basil and pecorino cheese - a traditional dish in Sardinia


A national cuisine is a set of dishes that are consistently prepared by the inhabitants of a certain territory or country. Historical preconditions are a feature of any national cuisine. Most of the dishes that belong to the national dishes in a particular area were previously cooked several centuries ago. Time passed - recipes were improved and supplemented in order to pass on culinary secrets to future generations. Most often, national dishes consist of those products that are available in the area. There are also conditions for the preparation of dishes of the national menu.




Culinary gourmets are ready to make long journeys to enjoy the national cuisine of this or that country. After all, to taste the taste of real sushi is possible only in Japan, and to savour roasted chestnuts cooked according to original recipes is possible only in France. Those who do not have the opportunity to visit foreign countries can try to learn some recipes and features of savoury national dishes in their kitchen.



Sushi, ready to eat


All available national cuisines of the world can be conditionally divided into several large groups, uniting them by some common features. Modern European cuisine developed under the influence of the national characteristics of various European countries. However, despite this, it is difficult to talk about a single European cuisine, since the territory of Europe is inhabited by many peoples, and their life and culture are determined not only by climatic, but also by geographical conditions. The cuisine of the southern countries of Western Europe differs in "temperament" from the cuisine of its northern countries just as the character of a Spaniard or an Italian differs from the Finns. Southern cuisine is spicy, flavourful and colourful compared to the simpler and more restrained cuisine of the north.



Spanish paella


The peculiarity of European cuisine is the abundance of vegetable dishes and the use of a large number of different sauces. Unlike the Orientals, Europeans make much less use of spices, seasonings and spices, focusing on preserving the flavours of the original products.



Serbian gyvec


European cuisine originated in Greece. Later, along with the cooks, the culinary art migrated to ancient Rome. That is why modern Italian and Greek cuisine have so many common features. Common features are also inherent in the cuisines of Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. First of all, it is the use of ginger, all kinds of pepper, thyme, fennel, sage, cinnamon, tarragon and vanilla. Vegetables and fruits are always present in the menu: tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, grapes, figs and oranges. Plenty of fish and seafood dishes, as well as poultry, lamb, pork or beef.



Italian polenta with rabbit meat


However, the legislators of European cuisine are not only southern European countries. For example, Europeans learnt about coffee from Austria, love for beer was given by Germans, Belgians and Czechs, and Englishmen taught Europeans how to drink tea.



Oriental cuisine combines gastronomic customs and traditions of Arab and Muslim countries, Asian countries, Turkish countries, as well as some Caucasian and Balkan countries. As well as in the case with the concept of "European cuisine", the concept of "Oriental cuisine" is also very broad and relative, as it encompasses culinary traditions of very different countries, sometimes completely opposite in customs and preferences. For example, in most countries of the Muslim world lamb is favoured, while in China and Japan fish and seafood are more preferred.



Kima Kaleji is a dish of minced mutton, curry, peas or potatoes that Indian Muslims prepare on Eid ul Fitr


The main foods used in oriental cuisine are rice, mutton, fermented milk products, beans, vegetables and fruits, and flour products. With few exceptions, fish and seafood, cheese, beef and eggs are used to a lesser extent. Oriental dishes are characterised by their spiciness and spicy flavour.




Another peculiarity of Eastern cuisine is the absence of soups as understood by Europeans. Many Eastern cuisines offer characteristic soups like "shurpa" - a rather thick and fatty soup. In different countries it can be called differently (sorpo, shorpo, shorpa, chorpo) and consist of different ingredients. Basically, the common products are vegetables and roasted meat. Cooking shurpa is a rather specific process, as its consistency is more like porridge. For soups, local cereals, a lot of onions and vegetables are used. Increased fat content of shurpa is connected with the use of clarified butter or turkey fat during cooking. Besides, pilaf, dolma, kebab and shawarma are typical for oriental cuisine. Lavash, flatbreads and pita are baked as bread.



Shurpa is a rather thick and fatty soup


Oriental sweets made of nuts and dried fruits, baklava, rahat-lukum, sherbet and halva are famous all over the world. As drinks, the inhabitants of these countries prefer oriental coffee and ayran, while the Chinese, Japanese, Central Asians and Indians favour tea.



Classic Turkish sweets are rahat-lukum, halva, sherbet, baklava, nuts, dried fruits, marzipan and marzipan


American cuisine is a bizarre mixture of various national dishes. The traditions of the indigenous peoples and tribes of America are closely intertwined with the traditions of the Spaniards, English, Italians, French and Portuguese who came to this land. In essence, American cuisine is the cuisine of immigrants. Perhaps that is why it is so loved all over the world and why catering establishments offering American cuisine are among the most visited.




American cuisine is made up of the cookery of many countries. The continent itself has a long history, and many peoples have settled on its territory - all this has had a direct impact on the peculiarities of cooking, and on the national cuisine as a whole. Despite its diversity, North American cuisine is quite simple. Most of it is made up of the cookery of Mexico and the United States. Mexicans enjoy searing and spicy dishes, the preparation of which is based on the traditions of the Aztecs and Spaniards. And the United States boasts many dishes imported from Europe and Asia.



Apple pie is one of the most traditional American dishes.

It is made of puff pastry filled with sugar-coated apples and other sweet ingredients


Speaking about the cuisines of South America, it is necessary to emphasise the dominant position of Brazilian cuisine. Brazilian gastronomy was formed under the influence of African, Portuguese and Indian traditions and represents a "puzzle" of regional cuisines. It is worth noting that often the dishes of one Brazilian region are strikingly different from another and have the specifics of geographical location. The most revered and favourite dish of the whole nation is feijoada - beans with various types of meat, cassava flour and spices. The most characteristic products for Brazilian cuisine are beans, rice, seafood, fish, all kinds of meat, coconut milk and fruit. Brazilians cannot imagine their existence without coffee.



Feijoada - beans with different kinds of meat, cassava flour and spices


Undoubtedly, the cuisines of different nations are so diverse, multifaceted and, at the same time, unique that their classification on the continental principle and even on the principle of individual countries would be too narrow and incomplete. Often small regions within one country and even small localities, due to their special reverence for their culinary traditions, and perhaps also due to their unique climatic conditions, determine the direction of development not only of a certain national cuisine, but also of the world culinary art and world beverage brands.



Champagne - sparkling wine produced in the French region of Champagne from established grape varieties by secondary fermentation of wine in the bottle