Global and Regional Cuisines
Global cuisines can be categorized by various regions according to the common use of major foodstuffs, including grains, produce and cooking fats. Regional cuisines may vary based upon food availability and trade, cooking traditions and practices, and cultural differences. For example, in Central and South America, corn (maize), both fresh and dried, is a staple food. In northern Europe, wheat, rye, and fats of animal origin predominate, while in southern Europe olive oil is ubiquitous and rice is more prevalent. In Italy the cuisine of the north, featuring butter and rice, stands in contrast to that of the south, with its wheat pasta and olive oil. China likewise can be divided into rice regions and noodle & bread regions. Throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean there is a common thread marking the use of lamb, olive oil, lemons, peppers, and rice. The vegetarianism practiced in much of India has made pulses (crops harvested solely for the dry seed) such as chickpeas and lentils as significant as wheat or rice. From India to Indonesia the use of spices is characteristic; coconuts and seafood are used throughout the region both as foodstuffs and as seasonings.
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