What Is Mediterranean Cuisine?
Mediterranean cuisine is growing in popularity and even people who were not inclined toward culinary adventurism are giving it a try. And more importantly, the majority of them find they love it. Whether you are among those who discovered their love for this food quite some time ago and search for dishes like homemade shawarma or hummus in San Mateo or are a recent convert, the question is how much do you know about it? A recent informal survey found that among those who love the food, a significant number do not understand what it is and what makes it so special. For this group, and for those who know the cuisine but may have some gaps in their knowledge, here is a brief outline of what Mediterranean food is.
Also Read: The Shawarma Story
Where It’s From
Mediterranean cuisine is defined by the cooking style and the ingredients used by people living in various countries in the Mediterranean region. The countries, languages, cultures, religions, etc. may be different, but the type of food they eat binds them together. These countries include Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco, and others.
How It Grew in Popularity in America
Post the World War II economic boom, lifestyles in this country underwent seismic change. Everyone had a car, food was cheap, new appliances made housework easier and movement from the cities to the suburbs changed the pattern of life. Frozen food easily warmed up at home, the mushrooming of pizza and burger joints, and the easy access to all kinds of restaurants altered the way people ate. Sadly, a great deal of what was being consumed was not healthy and obesity and cardiac problems surfaced and began to hit even younger age groups. Food was the culprit and the search was on for healthier items that could be easily added to menus, both at home and out of it. In 1950, the food writer Elizabeth David brought out her book on Mediterranean cooking. It was a success and a slow but important change took place in our eating habits. Healthy food, that did not sacrifice taste and yet added new flavors had arrived.
Also Read: What is a Healthy Indulgence?
The Key Characteristics of the Cuisine
- The food is a balanced mixture of both plant and animal-based products.
- Freshness is important as it increases the flavor.
- The use of salt is reduced but this is balanced by the use of onions, garlic, herbs, and spices, all of which contribute to good health.
- Olive oil, which has a host of health benefits is the main cooking medium.
- Sweet dishes are not excessively sweet as the use of sugar is limited.
- Mediterranean food is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to lower triglycerides and control blood pressure.
- The food is fiber-rich which means it is good for digestion.
- The cuisine is also rich in antioxidants.
Spend a little time looking up the topic and you will find many benefits and a wide range of flavor profiles.
Mediterranean food is easy to prepare and does not take much time. If you haven’t started cooking it yet, give it a try and you’ll love how easy it is and how much everyone you cook for will love it. All you need to do is find a Mediterranean grocery store near you. If cooking is not your thing but you love great food and are not too eager to eat out, find a Mediterranean deli in your town and pick up some yummy food to take home. Once you have eaten homemade hummus in San Mateo, there is no looking back.