Friday, June 10, 2016

International Foods

If there's one thing people love, it's food.

An article on BBC mentions that no diet consists entirely of native foods, that is, foods whose origins were from that area. When people encounter new food crops, they have, historically, been quick to pick up the new flavors and absorb them into their diet as possible.
Ramen is delicious. Especially the kind you don't
find in a bag or a cup.

It's not something I see addressed very often in fantasy stories, this exchange of food staples. Sometimes the spice trade is referred to, but that exotic tomato, the strange new thing called a chili,  that lovable potato, none of which were ever seen in European diets until after the Columbian Exchange?

One of the joys of travel is trying new foods and discovering different flavors. Sometimes I rather wish stories made a bigger deal of that, on the hero's journey, some kind of recipe they could take home with them, like pizza.

On the other hand it's not usually a critical element to the story, so perhaps it's better to leave it out and cut out the unnecessary tangent. Won't stop me from wanting to try new foods when I travel, though!

What foods would you miss the most if you could only eat things native to your area? And what foreign-originating foods could you just not live without?


  1. Hm....Considering I live in arid SoCal...I don't think *anything* I eat regularly is even close to native. The only native food I can think of that I've eaten are turkey, prickly pears, and nettles. Even the venison and quail eggs I've eaten aren't native (mule deer are native here, not white-tails; I ate quail eggs in Thailand, so also a different species). Even teosinte (corn) is from farther south. Avocados were native here, but that was a different species millions of years ago, not during human history.
    Foreign-originating foods I could not live without: Wheat. Sugar. Chocolate. Tea. Cattle and all the wonderful dairy products they make. Chicken and their eggs (I suppose I could eat quail eggs, but they've never been as big producers of eggs as chickens)

  2. Life without tea... hardly life at all! Chocolate, too. I find myself wondering what kinds of foods were eaten in southern California originally. Probably a lot of seafood. I have to agree, I'd be miss cows and chickens pretty terribly if they went away.