Monday, July 20, 2015

Distinctive Ingredients

Someone asked my daughter what was in the prepared foods in her kitchen. She looked around and couldn't find any, and reported back that she didn't buy prepared foods: “I buy ingredients.

That’s kind of characteristic of my family — we like to cook.

What Are the Defining Ingredients of a Culture’s Cuisine?
For example, peanut oil is the most distinctive ingredient of Chinese cuisine, because it is found in 16% of Chinese recipes, but less than 2% of the non-Chinese recipes. Thus it is eight times more frequently used in Chinese dishes than it is in other cuisines.

Thai food is distinguished by the use of galangal, also called siamese ginger, and it just might be why you like those curries so much. Galangal is found in over 10% of Thai dishes, but in only 0.1% of the dishes of other cuisines.

It seems you can’t compare apples to oranges, or any other food for that matter, in their exceptional role in American cuisine. Apples are nearly 3 times more likely to be found in American recipes than non-American ones. Johnny Appleseed can rest in peace.
I think we should make an effort to use every one of these.

Via Marginal Revolution.