A cuisine (// kwi-ZEEN , from French cuisine, "cooking; culinary art; kitchen"; ultimately from Latin coquere, "to cook") is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques, and dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture or geographic region. A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade. Religious food laws, such as Islamic and Jewish dietary laws, can also exercise a strong influence on cuisine. Regional food preparation traditions, customs and ingredients often combine to create dishes unique to a particular region.
The major factors shaping a cuisine are climate, which in large measure determines the native foods that are available, economic conditions, which affect trade and can affect food distribution, imports and exports, and religiousness or sumptuary laws, under which certain foods are required or proscribed.
Climate also affects the supply of fuel for cooking; a common Chinese food preparation method was cutting food into small pieces to cook foods quickly and conserve scarce firewood and charcoal. Foods preserved for winter consumption by smoking, curing, and pickling have remained significant in world cuisines for their altered gustatory properties even when these preserving techniques are no longer strictly necessary to the maintenance of an adequate food supply.
Cuisines evolve continually, and new cuisines are created by innovation and cultural interaction. One recent example is fusion cuisine, which combines elements of various culinary traditions while not being categorized per any one cuisine style, and generally refers to the innovations in many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.
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Global and regional cuisines
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.
- "Cuisine." Thefreedictionary.com. Accessed June 2011.
- "The American Food Revolutions: Cuisines in America." Eldrbarry.net. Accessed June 2011.
- "Rediscover the flavors and traditions of true American cuisine!" Whatscookingamerica.net. Accessed June 2011.
- Lindsey, Robert (18 August 1985). "California Grows Her Own Cuisine.". New York Times.
- Albala, Ken (2011.) Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-37626-9
- California Culinary Academy (2001). In the World Kitchen: Global Cuisine from California Culinary Academy. Bay Books (CA). ISBN 1-57959-506-5.
- Laudan, Rachel (2013). "Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26645-2
- MacVeigh, Jeremy (2008). International Cuisine. Delmar Cengage Learning; 1st edition. ISBN 1-4180-4965-4.
- Nenes, Michael F; Robbins, Joe (2008). International Cuisine. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, John & Sons; 1st edition. ISBN 0-470-05240-6.
- Scarparto, Rosario (2000.) "New global cuisine: the perspective of postmodern gastronomy studies." Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
- Zobel, Myron (1962.) "Global cuisine: being the unique recipes of the 84 top restaurants of the world." Patron Press.
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- The Elizabeth Robins Pennell Collection at the Library of Congress has many volumes on the topic of cuisine.