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Jumat, 12 Juni 2009


  1. INDIA

Indian food is well-known for being spicy. It always uses spices, sometimes just one spice to cook a potato dish and sometimes up to fifteen spices to compose an elaborate dish. But it is not always hot. Chili peppers were introduced into Asia by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. Until that time the typical pungent Indian spices were mustard seed and black peppercorns. Sometimes the spices are used whole, at other times they are ground and mixed with water or vinegar to make a paste. Each of these techniques draws out a completely different flavor from the spice. But India also gains variety from the huge number of regional cuisines which have been adapted to local culinary traditions. Religious groups within each region of India have modified these regional cuisines to suit their own restrictions. There was also the influence of the Moguls who came to India by ay of Persia and introduced the delicate Pullaos and meats cooked with yoghurt and fried onions.


When Vienna became a great capital city in the seventeenth century, Austrian cooking developed into an art. This was when the famous Viennese pastry began to be made. Food and ideas for cooking were imported from all over the continent: sour cream from the Slavs, paprika from Hungary, noodle dishes from Italy. Although some of the famous cakes and pastries are so extravagant they can only be used for special occasions, other dishes are highly economical. The meat dishes, for example, evolved because the Austrians were loath to kill bulls. They felt it wasteful to keep them and feed them while they grew up but did no useful work. Therefore, they kept only the cows which were killed when they were old and tough: and so the Austrians have a number of dishes which make use of scraggy meat. The many veal dishes, at which the Viennese are virtuosi, grew from the fact that so many baby bulls were killed.


Swedish cooking was in the past restricted by its climate which limited the supply of fresh food to a few months of the year. Meals tended to be monotonous and salted fish or meat and potatoes were served most of the time. But things are very different today with Swedish smorgasbord popular all over the world. The word actually means sandwich table, but in reality there is a great variety of cold dishes to choose from. Swedish cooking developed in the eighteenth century under French influence However, old traditions persist. On Christmas Day, ham is always served at that time, on Christmas Eve plate porridge may be put in the attic or cellar for the little gnomes who are believed to live in the house. The porridge is to thanks the gnomes for their help during the past year and ensures their help in the next.


The Belgians have the same interest in good food as the French. It is something to be taken seriously. A Belgian chicken pate takes time to make, and requires an addition of two glasses of brandy. Chicken Waterzoi is the oldest Belgian national dish. It makes for a hearty country meal and has to be served in extra-large soup plates to hold both the portions of chicken and the vegetables as well. Another famous Belgian dish is rabbit and prunes. This is helped by using half a bottle of wine in its preparation, but it is good dish to prepare well in advanced of the guests arriving.


It used to be the Indonesia custom to put all the food on the table at once and let everyone help himself. The “help yourself” rule still applies but the average family meal now takes place in a sequence of courses and the total number of dishes is now smaller than is used to be because when the housewife cooks there is not enough time to make anything elaborate. Most Indonesians are Moslems and avoid pork. They consider lamb or goat to be their favorite food. The most charming aspect of eating in Indonesia is the warung, or wayside food stall. It customers sit on the bench or on the ground nearby and the cooking goes on behind the stall.


Poles have always taken an intelligent and lively interest in good food and the large farming population has had a Slavonic gusto in producing original and tasty dishes from the simplest and cheapest ingredients. Soups play an important part in the diet of a Polish family. They have adopted the Russian borscht and transformed it into their own national soup. The basis of borscht is beetroot but no one should be misguided enough to think that it is a weak concoction. But is not only wholesome and nourishing, but has fragrance and color to make it attractive. All Polish cakes and pastries are delightful but among the best are the cheese pastries. For a summer dish a salad, or for picnics, the Polish way of making a cream cheese spread – mixing cream cucumber and chives – is slightly unusual and very pleasant.


Turkish cooking has a long tradition dating back many centuries to Byzantium times. From those early times, the Turks have been grilling pieces of meat, usually lamb on skewers. They are also said to have introduced the rice for their famous pilafs from Persia. Of Course, like all regional cooking, they make use of their local vegetables, such as aubergine and courgettes ad sweet peppers. Turks may have a reputation for being a warlike people, but they also have a sweet tooth. The popularity of Turkish Delight in other European by the Turks who continue to like extremely sweet delicacies, such as the fragrantly delicious rose – petal jam.

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