A cuisine (from the French word for "kitchen") is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a place of origin. Religious food laws can also exercise a strong influence on cuisine. A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade. The "chinese" dish chop suey clearly reflected the adaptation of chinese immigrant cooking styles to the different ingredients available in North America.
The last century or so has produced enormous improvements in food production, preservation, storage and shipping. Today almost every locale in the world has access to not only its traditional cuisine, but also to many other world cuisines, as well. New cuisines are constantly evolving, as certain aesthetics rise and fall in popularity among professional chefs and their clientele.
In addition to food, a cuisine is also often held to include beverages, including wine, liquor, tea, coffee and other drinks. Increasingly, experts hold that it further includes the raw ingredients and original plants and animals from which they come. The Slow Food movement is a global effort to preserve local plants, animals, and techniques of food preparation. It has 70,000 adherents in 50 countries.
There are also different cultural attitudes to food, for example:
- In India, consumption of food is regarded as an offering, a Yagna. Thus the stomach is considered to be a homagunda (holy fire) and all the food consumed is an offering to the holy fire.
- In Japan, Tea drinking is a fine-art and there is an elaborate ceremonial about it. Not drinking tea in the right way is considered to be an act of barbarianism.
Cuisines of the Americas
These cuisines are based on the cuisines of the countries from which the immigrant peoples came, primarily Europe. However, the traditional European cuisine has been adapted to a greater or lesser degree and many local ingredients and techniques have been added to the tradition.
Cuisines of Canada
See also: Canadian cuisines
Cuisines of the United States, including Puerto Rico
See also: Cuisine of the United States
Cuisines of Mexico
See also: Mexican cuisine
Cuisines of the Caribbean
See also: Caribbean cuisines
Cuisines of South America
See also: South American cuisines
Cuisines of Europe
See also: European cuisines
Cuisines of Northern Europe
Cuisines of the Mediterranean
See also: Mediterranean cuisine
Cuisines of Africa
See also: African cuisines
Cuisines of the Middle East
See also: Middle-Eastern cuisines
Cuisines of East Asia
See also: Asian cuisine
Cuisines of India
See also: Indian cuisine