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The greatest cuisines in history ...


Gifted Gourmet
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Do you know which are the four greatest cuisines in history?

What is the basis for your choices?

Which is your very favorite? Why did you choose this over others? :rolleyes:

Do you use this in your recipe planning?

Bonus question, but quite simple really, which cuisine is considered by many to be the standard against which all other cuisines are measured?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I believe the most commonly described three greatest cuisines are: French, Italian, and Chinese, leaving one open for whatever the describer likes at the moment.

Historically, we probably know more about Chinese cuisine than any others on whatever list. But even then, Chinese cuisine is divided by region; Szechuan, Hunan, Canton.... which of these is better? Should we continue to lump them together?

There are very few traditional Chinese dishes I have the nerve to cook at home nowadays. Electric stove + wok = bleh. But I do tend to take into account spice mixtures when cooking other dishes.

My favorite? Using the technique of adding whatever the describer likes to the "gang of four" list I have to say Japanese. I could eat good Japanese food everyday. But then, with the regional variety of Chinese I could say the same thing there. Is it okay to say Asian? *mumbles something about broad categories and wanders off...*

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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I believe the most commonly described three greatest cuisines are: French, Italian, and Chinese, leaving one open for whatever the describer likes at the moment.

actually the fourth is not such a stretch ... keep trying .... :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I would argue for Iranian cuisine, which since the days of Darius and Xerxes has seduced foreign visitors/rivals/conquerors. While today's Persian cookery dates reliably only from the Sassanids, there are arguments to be made for continuity from the days before the Medes and Persians knocked off the Babylonians.

Certainly few national cuisines can claim anything like a similarly broad influence.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I believe the most commonly described three greatest cuisines are: French, Italian, and Chinese, leaving one open for whatever the describer likes at the moment.

actually the fourth is not such a stretch ... keep trying .... :wink:

Indian Subcontinent. :biggrin:

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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Do you know which are the four greatest cuisines in history?

What is the basis for your choices?

Which is your very favorite? Why did you choose this over others? :rolleyes:

Do you use this in your recipe planning?

Bonus question, but quite simple really, which cuisine is considered by many to be the standard against which all other cuisines are measured?

David Thompson, in his newish book, Thai Food, suggests that the Siamese cuisine of several hundred years ago deserves nomination as one of the greatest. It was so labor-intensive, he says, that only those who weren't actually cooking it would insist it be made the way it was.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Most folks that live in South America would tell you it's Peruvian.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Why does it have to be four cuisines? Why not five, seven, or ten? I would nominate Chinese, French, Italian, Indian, and Thai, in no particular order, but clearly, people can make good arguments for other cuisines.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Why does it have to be four cuisines? Why not five, seven, or ten? I would nominate Chinese, French, Italian, Indian, and Thai, in no particular order, but clearly, people can make good arguments for other cuisines.

Actually, there is no set number, I rather imagine ...

Ghee, you folks are actually ruminating about this question! Bravo! You have made my pappadums quiver in anticipation of the answer to the fourth cuisine ... :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Wasn't Columbus trying to get to India to get some spices??? Maybe the Europeans heard something about indian cooking a long time ago. By accident, they "discovered" the virtues of the tomato, corn , chile and a whole new world of cuisine in the Americas. A little before that, Marco Polo brought back the whole pasta concept from China. Apart from the French, nobody in Europe can have a claim on any culinary development. Imagination, yes, but if you're talking about the world's greatest cuisines, I would have to go with the French first for technique, India for complexity, China for both complexity and imagination and the native americans, north and south, for inspiring and influencing the rest of the world.

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Do you know which are the four greatest cuisines in history?

Bonus question, but quite simple really, which cuisine is considered by many to be the standard against which all other cuisines are measured?

Are there answers to these questions?

I would guess that French, Italian, and Chinese are 3 of the 4 great cuisines. I don't know about the 4th though.

I'm guessing that French cuisine is considered the "standard" by which other cuisines are measured. Would love to know the real answers though!

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in terms of recognition, french, italian and chinese are candidates.

personally, i like japanese, indian, french and british ( :biggrin: it's true, sunday roasts - i laugh at any other cuisines attempt at a roast potatoe)

but the fourth for recognition? indian or japanese, i might even be tempted to knock chinese out and include japanese and indian in.

ooooh, those indian pickles

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Having just spent 6 months in South America, I would say that Peruvian cuisine is distinctive in its use of local vegetables, particularly root vegetables, various kind of corn and many types of greens which are not available anywhere else.

But there is a huge Asian influence in Peruvian cuisine, and the general cooking procedures are heavily reliant on European methods.

IMHO, the most distinctive cuisines are: Italian, Chinese, Indian and French.

French owes a huge debt to Italy in its fundamentals, but undoubtedly developped a character all its own.

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In no particular order, Mexican, Chinese, Indian.

Two main arguments for that:

a) The refinement and variety achieved by those cuisines when the rest of the world would have called it a good day had it eaten some piece of salted or cured fat is simply unbelievable.

b) Try to imagine any European cuisine without the ingredients made available after 1492: tomato, corn, pepper, potato, ...

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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b) Try to imagine any European cuisine without the ingredients made available after 1492: tomato, corn, pepper, potato, ...

Indeed. We could also mention squash. But even more importantly, look at how the chili pepper changed world cuisine. Oh, and there's something called chocolatl... :biggrin:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I would have to answer Italian, Indian, Chinese and Mexican.

I would defer French to 5th place, just for the sake of only picking one cuisine from Europe, and the fact that I (personally) perceive Italian food as being more widely spread throughout the world...everywhere I go, there's an Italian restaurant of some kind!

Any omission of Native/South American cuisine would be egregious for the reasons noted above... chocolate, chiles, potatoes, yams, corn, squash, tomatoes, turkey, tortillas...

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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1-Chinese / 2-Chinese / 3.Chinese /and 4- Chinese

The reason for the choice is that I've read only books on Chinese food history development and culture --- not on any other cuisine.

Am I biased toward Chinese cuisine? Darn tootin'! (I'm not Chinese, I just have a love affair with their food)

Do I like other cuisines? Yep! German. Other Central European foods too, but not as much as German.

If I have to name four, then it would be Chinese - French - Italian - Mexican.

The one which set the standard would have to be French. While China was enclosed into itself, in the 1500s, the French were cooking up a storm in their courts, and with the help of Escoffier and others like him, Cordon Bleu types of French cooking schools, and up to our beloved Julia Childs --- what other cuisine has been more studied so and been compared to? From Haute to Novelle, French stands out.

But that is not to say that Chinese takes a back seat. The developments in their country were simple not known to the outside world until recent times.

(IMMHO)

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Actually it is hard to say which cuisine 'sets the standard', as all cuisines must have learned by trial and error, just what works for their own particular style of food and what was available.

Foodies were foodies no matter when or where they lived, I guess.

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I Am going with (in no particular order) Italian, Mexican/Central/South American (I think they generally share enough to be lumped here), British, and Asian (I am going to lump Chinese/Japanese/Thai all here, yes I know they vary significantly, but all seem to share common traits). This is just what i see as having influenced general world cuisine (at all levels, not neccessarily fine dining) the most, not what would catagorize as 'best' (if you can ever do that).

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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