Native Cuisines by: The 50/50's

Corn is the basis of the Mexican diet, as it has been for thousands of years. It can be found in almost every meal, usually in the form of the tortilla (flatbread). Corn can also be boiled to produce pozole , a hearty corn stew. Popular fruits and vegetables are tomatoes, tomatillos (green tomatoes), squash, sweet potato, avocado, mango, pineapple, papaya, and nopales (from the prickly pear cactus). Though beef is consumed, chicken and pork are more common. The variety of chilies includes the widely known jalapeño, as well as the poblano , serrano , and chipotle . Chilies give Mexican cooking a distinctive flavor, which is often enhanced with herbs, such as cilantro and thyme, and spices, including cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. Cheese and eggs round out the diet. Seafood is most common in coastal dishes.

Though Mexican cuisine is a blend of indigenous (Indian) and Spanish influences, most Mexicans continue to eat more native foods, such as corn, beans, and peppers. Such foods are cheap and widely available. Bread and pastries are sold, but the tortilla, homemade or bought daily at the local tortillería (tortilla stand), is the basis of the typical meal. Flour tortillas are also eaten, especially in northern Mexico, but the corn variety is most popular.

Fish was a major source of food for the Japanese, due to the vast ocean surrounding it. Then, in the Yayoi period, the cultivation of rice was introduced, and became yet another vital food staple. Rice was abundant, mainly because of the mild and humid climate, perfect for growing rice. However, only a mere 15% of the land is flat enough for farming. The mountainous terrain not only made it hard to farm and travel, but it also separated the Japanese civilizations. There were several sectioned areas, that all differentiated in its ways, like their accent.

Italian cuisine has influenced food culture around the world and is viewed as a form of art by many. Wine, cheese and pasta are important part of Italian meals. Pasta comes in a wide range of shapes, widths and lengths, including penne, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli and lasagna.

Family is an extremely important value within the Italian culture.Family gatherings are often centered around food. Some of the common foods used in Italian dishes include fish, potatoes, rice, sausages, different types of cheeses Pasta dishes such as polenta and risotto, capers, peppers, olives and olive oil, garlic, artichokes and eggplant

Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation's cultural interactions with other societies.

Historical incidents such as foreign invasions, trade relations and colonialism have played a role in introducing certain foods to the country. For instance, the potato, a staple of the diet in some regions of India, was brought to India by the Portuguese, who also introduced chillies and breadfruit.[5] Indian cuisine has shaped the history of international relations; the spice trade between India and Europe was the primary catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery.[6] Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia. Indian cuisine has influenced other cuisines across the world, especially those from Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, the British Isles, Fiji, and the Caribbean

Food is a very important aspect of many family traditions and Caribbean culture. During holidays and other special events, it is not uncommon for people to spend many days preparing food. Caribbean dishes are often comprised of indigenous, European, American, Chinese, and African influences.

Caribbean cuisine is influenced by Chinese, Indian, Dutch, French, Spanish, British, and Amerindian food. Local residents have also developed distinct dishes.


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