Despite what many people think, cooking and eating have been around for some time now. And it wasn’t until the 18th century that recipes like piada italian street food angel hair pasta first came into fashion. But while they may not be as old as one might believe them to be, they are still a vital part of the way we live today. After all, what’s the point of food if you can’t enjoy it?
These days, culinary trends are constantly changing; chefs are adding and subtracting flavors in order to create new dishes that entice customers and make people want more.
1. The Human Body and Cooking
The way that we perceive food is not the same way that other animals do. In fact, no other organism enjoys eating as much as humans do. And while most animals eat to survive, people are obsessed with eating. Why? It’s all in our brains.
In the beginning of human history, cooking was a necessity: it allowed us to use up food faster than if we left it raw and gave us more energy for running from hungry predators. But over time our love for cooking evolved into something different: cooking became about adding variety to our diets—we wanted whatever wasn’t there before and we were willing to go to great lengths (and expense) in order to get it.
2. Nutritional Value
Human beings have a very limited diet that we are biologically designed to eat: meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. But other than the animal products that we consume from time to time, it’s rare for us to eat these things in the correct proportions.
What’s the greatest example of this? The Atkins diet. Millions of people swear by this extremely low-carbohydrate diet which emphasizes protein and fat content in order to lose weight. This may be effective for some people but it can also cause severe nutrient deficiencies as well as a feeling of hunger after only two or three days on the diet.
While cooking is meant to make food taste better, some dishes can be ruined from being cooked too long. Meat is a good example: it doesn’t take long for it to get tough, lose flavor, and even start to give off a putrid stench. This has led many people to joke that the only way you should cook meat is over an open fire and the only thing that it should touch is flame.
4. Cooking and Taste Buds
The average American meal contains an astounding 4,000 calories—more than three times what the average Chinese meal holds. And yet, the average weight for a woman in America is 166 pounds and the average weight for a man is 195 pounds. That’s almost thirty pounds over what it should be. Did we just eat too much or are there other factors involved?
5. Big Business
Americans eat 98 tons of chicken every year, 100 million bushels of apples, and over 2.5 billion glasses of milk. And while most people don’t realize it, these foods are all large corporations that have been shaping our tastes for years through advertising and marketing campaigns.
6. Food Stamps
The U.S. government has a program called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program which provides food stamps to families that need it in order to live. These groceries are tailored to make up for any nutritious foods that may have been eaten during the month as well as non-nutritious foods that have been consumed during the month. In fact, only about 15% of all food stamps go towards truly nutritious foods, meaning that almost 75% are being spent on junk food and other non-essential items. That’s an astounding amount of money that could be used for better purposes—like feeding someone who needs it!
In the United States, it’s considered a bad thing to be prejudiced; in fact, it’s against the law. And yet, we’re constantly singling out certain foods for ridicule and scorning them for being unhealthy.
Ever wonder why the same foods like fruit and vegetable smoothies, salads, oatmeal, and yogurt are always being advertised? It’s because these companies know that they have a good product and are afraid of losing their large customer base. It’s also because they realize that Americans aren’t very picky when it comes to food—we’ll eat anything as long as it tastes good.
8. Gourmet Food
These days, gourmet food is all the rage. Restaurants are popping up everywhere and people are searching for ways to make their meals seem fancier. When most people think of gourmet food , the first thing that comes to mind is something that is extremely fancy in a way that only the upper classes can afford: like caviar or lobster bisque. And while some gourmet food may come from an expensive source, gourmet food isn’t just about price tags.
Before the 18th century, people were content with eating raw breads, fruits, and vegetables. Cooking did not exist. But these days we’ve become obsessed with new flavors. And as long as we don’t get too carried away with culinary trends, we’ll be able to enjoy the array of foods that are here for us now.