Mediterranean cuisine- A short introduction
The lure of the Mediterranean – blue sea, soft breezes, mystery and a history! The Mediterranean Sea borders continents such as Europe, Asia, and Africa. With so many different cultures it’s no surprise that Mediterranean cuisine is one of the most diversified. Many people think Mediterranean cuisine is known primarily for its Italian, Spanish, coastal French and Greek dishes However,there is much more variety to this very unique cuisine.
Mediterranean cuisine has a wide range of ingredients. This is what makes this cuisine very different from others. It uses simple ingredients in their purest form to give foods their natural flavour by using a myriad of ingredients and flavours. Hence, It is not uncommon to find many dishes prepared with fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
Two ingredients that are common to most regional Mediterranean cuisine are use of olive oil and garlic. There are 21 nations in the Mediterranean Sea on three different continents. Thus, the vast cultural and socio-economic range of this region is the reason for the great variety of this cuisine.
Overall, From the point of view of geography and culture, we can distinguish three main areas:
The western Mediterranean area goes from Portugal, a country overlooking the Atlantic but with a fully Mediterranean cuisine, to Italy. In these countries there are differences between the regions bordering the Mediterranean and the inland, which is more influenced by central European cuisine.
The eastern Mediterranean area is a mixture of countries with different cultures. Slovenia, Greece and the area of the Middle East (Israel, Syria and Lebanon) are just some of them.The southern Mediterranean area includes countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco which have a common denominator in the religion of Islam.
The Staples features of the Mediterranean Diet Include:
-Diligence about eating time and serving portions.
-Use of Olive Oil in all cooking and dressings.
-Use of whole grain, legumes and beans.
-Eating vegetables and fruit daily.
-Reducing the amount of saturated fats, especially the amount of red meat consumed.
-Eating fish and nuts that are rich in fatty acids.
-Serving red wine with meals rather than other alcoholic drinks.
-Reducing the amount of salt in cooking and sugar, especially in buying packaged goods.
-Visiting local farmers market more frequently.
-Choosing an exercise regimen consistent with doctor’s guidance.
-Eating Better, Fresher, Smarter.
The Mediterranean food that is well known is yogurt. The Mediterranean people discovered many creative ways to use yogurts. Also some of the Mediterranean dishes are known for their use of feta cheese, olives, artichokes and garlic, which give them a combination of very distinct flavours.
The Mediterranean diet is now popular throughout the world because of its wealth of health benefits, ease of preparation, simple ingredients, and amazing flavours, thus knowing a few Mediterranean cuisine favorites is a good idea. I will be talking about this in my next article. Thanking you guys for reading and appreciating your feedback!! (Deepan)