Food as a cultural universal

by Adriana Nistor

Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio traveled around the world to see what an average family eats. They presented 28 families from different cultures. Their project “Hungy Planet” reveals in detail the food a family consumes within a week and its costs.

At a first look some families have a lot of food and I wonder if they really need that amount. Each family has on the table some traditional dishes. The Asian ones have a large amount of fish, rice and vegetables revealing a healthy way of life. On the other hand the families from United States have the table crowded with fast food and meat. Although the food culture of United States is influenced by cultures all over the world, they are the most likely to preserve the Fast food industry.
The South America’s countries and some places from Asia like Bhutan have the most variety of fruit and vegetables. The poorest ones are the African regions, Breidjing Camp and Mali. These families are the proof that you can survive with less and still be happy.

If I tickled up your curiosity you can view the photos here :

Lasagna, found in a British cookbook

After viewing the gallery I decided to do a little research of one of my favorite course, lasagna. The Italian food is well known all over the world but few are aware of its complex etymology. The term lasagna comes from the Greek word “lasagnum”,  meaning dish or bowl. The word it is still used in Greek to mean a flat thin type of unleavened bread. The Romans borrowed the word as “lasanum”, meaning cooking pot in latin. This new “lasanum” dish spread all across the Europe, reaching Britain where it was published in the first cookbook “The form of Cury” during the reign of Richard II.  It had similarities with the modern recipe, except the lack of tomatoes which did not arrived in Europe until after Columbus reached America in 1462. The earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1962 and the author had obtained these recipes from Spanish sources.

Garfield's Idolatory love for lassagna

Hot dog, originated from Germany.

Although nowadays it’s a typical American dish, the origins of the hot dog are from Frankfurt, Germany. They were called sausages back in the 13th century and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations. The word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages similar to hot dogs originated.

The term dog has been used as a synonym for sausage since 1884. In the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common. The suspicion that sausages contained dog meat was “occasionally justified”.

Nowadays, in German speaking countries, except Austria, hot dog sausages are called Wiener or Wiener Würstchen  (Würstchen means “little sausage”), in differentiation to the original pork only mixture from Frankfurt.  In Swiss German, it is called Wienerli, while in Austria the terms Frankfurter or Frankfurter Würstel are used.

Sources :

for the pictures Google images 🙂




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