Essay On Food & Culture
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In the course of my studies, I have been privileged to encounter quite a number of cuisines that come from all over the world. I have had the opportunity to not only sample but learn to cook as well, some of the best cuisines in this world. I learnt that French cuisine, one of the many cuisines that I have experienced, pays a great deal of attention to cheese, wine and bread that all play a vital role in the French cuisine. The French are also keen on flavors and perhaps that is why they prefer to put ingredients such as wine in their food.
Another cuisine that is entirely based on culture is the Italian cuisine. This particular cuisine is primarily centered on simplicity. The Italian cuisine is known to be very simple and most dishes only spot up to four ingredients. The Italian culture pays special attention to the quality of the ingredients as well. Some of the min ingredients in this cuisine include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, maize and wheat based foods such as pasta.
One other wonderful cuisine that I have learnt in the course of my studies is Asian cuisine. The Asian region is divided into many tiny regions all sporting different cuisines and cultures but there are some features that cut across all these regions. The love for spices and herbs is dominant in Asian cuisine. This cuisine is also typically centered on rice, vegetables, meat and in some regions, seafood as well.
Culinary Skills Learned
In my course I was also able to beef myself up with a number of culinary skills that are all vital insofar as the cooking world is concerned. I learned the basic knife cuts, cooking principles concerning different foods and their appropriate cooking methods as well as preparing stocks and sauces. A good example is the Marinara sauce that we learned to prepare from tomatoes and the Balsamic barbeque sauce. For example, I learnt how to properly sear different types of meats, how to sauté onions as well as how to use the aromas of different foods to tell whether they are ready or not.
All these skills have come in handy as far as improving my cooking is concerned. For example, I was not conversant with properly sautéing onions until they clarify but I was able to achieve this through the culinary skills that I was able to learn. I also learned the great art of presentation and setting that ensures the food is presented in a manner that is not only appetizing but also appealing to the eye.
In our food preparation classes, I underwent mind-blowing experiences in the lab. Through the careful study of food recipes and preparation methods, I was able to recreate great-tasting dishes and at times even to my own amazement. I also learned that in the preparation of food, the culture, flavor and texture all play a vital role in the final product that one presents. One great example that really proved flavor is an essential part of the cuisine on e is preparing is the experience that I had while preparing Jambalaya. In the course of my cooking, I forgot to add Creole seasoning to my dish and what I ended up with was probably the worst tasting Jambalaya that this world has ever seen.
Nonetheless, one experience that showed me the value of flavor in food was when I prepared Doro Wot, which is an Ethiopian Red Chicken Stew. One particular thing about Ethiopians is that they like their food packed with lots of heat. I this recipe, I had to use a quarter cup of paprika, black pepper, red chilies and a ton of ginger. The dish ended up being really hot but it was perfect when served with the Anjera. It really fit the bill as far as an exotic dish was concerned.
One thing I also learned in the course of my studies and practice in the lab is the value of texture in food. The best experience that I had in this regard is when I prepared some baby back ribs. In this preparation, I used some dry rub on the ribs and the result was amazing. The rub was perfect and it ended up forming the crust for my ribs, thereby keeping the meet juicy and tender. This created contrasting textures in the meal and I believe that made the whole difference. The meat was just soft and tender while the crust was hard and crispy, creating the perfect balance.
In my studies and practice in the lab, I had the chance to experience a whole new world that I previously never knew existed. The world of cooking is a vast and extremely diverse one that may at times get complicated. However, it is a beautiful world that teaches us to experience different cultures, lives and stories just by standing in front of a stove. It is a world through which one connects with and appreciates the diversity of the world’s cultures.
Ashley, Bob. Food and Cultural Studies. London [u.a.: Routledge, 2004. Print.
Kittler, Pamela G, Kathryn Sucher, and Marcia Nahikian-Nelms. Food and Culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Montanari, Massimo, and Albert Sonnenfeld. Food Is Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. Print.