The culinary cabinet of humans has been expanding since the dawn of mankind. Ranging from different types of dishes to various types of presentations embellished in the essence of a culture. All the countries spread across the world have a food culture that is broadly categorized into 5 major cuisines. This classification has been done also because these five major cuisines have influenced the human palate the most. Every innovative delicacy resulting from the creative minds is in a way a derivative of these primary cuisines. Well! frankly, have you ever wondered about the word “Cuisine”?
In this blog, I’ll try to engage you guys in an informative discussion about the word “cuisine”. We will discover more about these delicious cuisines, their origins, and some really interesting facts. So, this one is from the cuisine cabinet!
Origin of the word “Cuisines”
So we are talking about the history of the word “cuisines”. Upon researching, this word belongs to the french language and it really means what most people might think it means. Yes! this french word means “Kitchen“. The interesting fact which most people are not aware of is that the word “cuisine” actually has a Latin origin From the Latin origin, “Cuisine” was formed from the word Coquina which presents the same meaning as it has in French. Things do not just stop here this simply, because Coquina itself is not a root word as it takes its origin from another Latin word, “Coquere” translated as “To Cook.“
So ultimately, Cuisine is a style of cooking and culinary presentation which shows beautiful variations with every changing region and culture. Most of relevant and recorded history regarding the cuisine are associated with two terms:
- Haute Cuisine
- Nouvelle Cuisine
Although these two above mentioned terms have a rich and complicated history, I’ll make it easier for you to comprehend that Haute Cuisine was basically high-class cooking styles and methods, or we can say the type of cooking methods used in the gourmet restaurants that includes scrupulous preparation and intricate details to the presentation.
On the other hand, Nouvelle Cuisine creates an easy-going scenario for the chefs as it makes use of lighter ingredients without the element of complexity in its preparation methods. Witnessing its inception in the year 1960, Novelle Cuisine focuses mainly on the natural flavors and fresher ingredients served in a simpler style of presentation.
Five Major Cuisines of the World
There is not a single iota of doubt that all the cuisines around the world comprise unfathomable masterpieces of culinary taste and art. The five cuisines which the human palate has been a fan of are:
What is so special about these cuisines? Ever pondered? What makes them so effective on the taste buds? All of these intriguing questions must have been popping in your head, right? Well! worry not, because the further you dig into this blog, the clearer your mind will be regarding these questions.
Let’s talk about each of these cuisines one by one, shall we?
1. Italian Cuisine
Historically, Italian cuisine birthed in the streets of ancient Rome. Just like ancestral politics, art, and other traditions of the Roman Empire, its cooking style rose in a parallel manner. Although the civilization on its journey into the future eventually faded into modern-day Italy, the roots of its cuisine spread exponentially.
So this was a little sneak peek of the history of Cuica Italiana (Cuisine of Italy), now let’s dive into the famous delicacies and answer those above-mentioned questions. So, the specialty of Italian cuisine lies in its respect for its tradition along with the blend of quality, simplicity, and dedication.
Italian cuisine has given us one of our most favorite fast foods. Of course! you are right, I am talking about our most beloved Pizza. Do you know our favorite fast food, pizza, has an ancestor too! Yes, you heard it right, it was called Focaccia which was a flatbread to which a different variety of ingredients were added for taste. The specific name by which it was known in Italy was panis focaccias. The pizza you and I eat today took birth in the city of Naples, Italy around the 18th or early 19th century.
Another scrumptious delicacy of the Italian style of cooking, drumrolls… is none other than Lasagna! The flavorsome dish has flat pasta sheets stacked as layers encapsulating juicy ground meat and tomato sauce often complimented with cheese sauce. This masterpiece of Italian cuisine also finds its origin in the city of Naples, Italy in the middle ages.
Some other worth mentioning gourmet foods of Italian cuisine are:
- Ragu Alla Bolognese sauce (the national food of Italy)
2. Chinese Cuisine
Not only the Chinese civilization is amongst the oldest cradles of human civilization, but its cuisine also dates 4 thousand years back, interesting isn’t it? One of the most popular elements of Chinese cuisine, noodles, have been traced through archaeological findings around the upper reaches of the Yellow River in China.
The cuisine of China was apparently bisected into South China and North China. The very famous ingredient of Chinese dishes, rice, was a part of the cuisine of Southern China. Plain of Northern China primarily focused on the foods prepared from the flour.
Now, what makes it so special? If I try to answer this using a philosophical and literary perspective, then, it can be said that Chinese cuisine is a fusion of ingredients having a deep spiritual meaning hidden in them. Every spice, vegetable, and meat used in the preparation of dishes had a meaning to it. One primary meaning which can be derived from the mechanism of Chinese cuisine is the exceptional balance of nutrients and cooking. This is what outshines Chinese cuisine from others.
One of the famed Chinese dishes is “Hotpot or huǒguō”. Meat and vegetables cooked in mouth-watering broth enhance the flavor This dish is prepared by cooking meat and vegetables to perfection in a mouth-watering broth. What makes it unique is that you get to choose the flavor of the broth. Mushroom, spicy, original, or tomato you can choose any broth flavor you like. The icing on the cake is the sauce that you choose for your meat which further compliments the overall taste of the dish.
Several other popular and delicious masterpieces of Chinese cookery are:
- Shrimp with Vermicelli and Garlic
- Chow Mein
- Peking Roasted Duck
- Kung Pao Chicken
3. Indian Cuisine
Over 5000 years old, the Indian Cuisine accompanies the Chinese cuisine in its seniority. The primary region which cultivated this cuisine was the sub-continent i.e., Pakistan and India. The population of this region developed Indian cuisine using a huge variety of different flavors and spices with meat and vegetables. Indian Cuisine witnesses an influence of Mongolian, Chinese, and Persian Cuisines on it as well.
The element which distinguishes the Indian cooking tradition from its fellows is the variety of flavors and spice levels in the food. While Chinese cuisine, certainly, has a low spice level in most of its dishes, the case is vice versa for Indian cuisine. Indian Cuisine has the specialty of a blend of spices that is unforgettable to the taste buds.
One of the most famous dishes of Indian cuisine is the one which is equally famous in Pakistan and India. It is one of the most famous dishes to originate from this region. The widespread popularity of this dish is due to the splendid mix of rice with spices and meat. The spices or as it is said in local dialect “Masalay” used in the preparation of Biryani ranges from cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, and chilies.
Other worth mentioning delicacies of Indian cuisines which you really should not miss are:
- Butter Chicken (a dish in which the meat is cooked in a rich curry of tomato, butter, and creamy sauce)
- Pav Bhaji
- Tandoori Chicken
- Chickpea Curry
4. Japanese Cuisine
Japanese Cuisine, in terms of its flavor and individuality, stands second to none. Even though there is a fair amount of influence of the Chinese style of cooking on it, still, it has been able to maintain its distinctive identity in culinary books. Not many people know that due to the rise of Buddhism in Japan, meat consumption got banned. This enabled the Japanese chefs to introduce to the world a dish called “Sushi”.
The factors which contribute to the uniqueness of the Japanese cooking style are the endless variety of ingredients, roughly I can say 1500, with rice as the core element. The involvement of fermented foods like soy sauce, natto, and miso along with the seasonal produce enriches this cuisine.
Some of the must-try foods from Japanese cuisine are:
- Unagi (which Ross mentioned in the sitcom “Friends”)
- Onigiri – Rice Balls
- Yakitori – Grilled Chicken Skewers
5. American Cuisine
American cuisine is the one that has incorporated the essence of almost every cuisine around the world. The American style of cooking saw the influence of Hispanics, African Americans, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, and Asians. This style of cooking fuses many different cuisines of the world giving them a glowing new identity.
American chefs have given the world so of the most consumed fast foods. The burgers, the hotdogs, the loaded fries, fried chicken, and different types of salads we enjoy at cafes and gourmet restaurants are an American Culinary gift to us. History regards American Cuisine as a “Fusion Cuisine”. One of the most interesting historical events associated with American Cuisine is the. A movement that took place in the time period of the late 1960s and ’70s.
Most of the appetizing snacks like Beef Burgers, Fried Chicken, Loaded Fries originate from American Cuisine. Moreover, the famous dishes of this cookery are:
- Pot Roast
- Cobb Salad
- Key lime pie
- Tater Tots
- Hot Dogs
All these five major cuisines have influenced the taste of not only the locals of a region but also of the foreigners. Cuisines have played an important role in defining the cultural and national identity of a region or a country. It is a beautiful way of showing the visitors how they will be treated food-wise if they visit a specific region.
So guys! We saw in this blog what are cuisines, briefly read about their history, and then discovered more about the five primary cuisines encaging the kitchen and flavor cabinets around the world.
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