Peasant foods are those dishes specific to a particular culture made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients and usually prepared and spiced to make them more palatable. They have often formed a significant part of the diets of those who may live in economic poverty compared to the average for their society or country.
Peasant foods have been described as being the diet of peasants, that is, tenant or poorer farmers and their farm workers, and by extension, of other cash-poor people. They may use ingredients, such as offal and less-tender cuts of meat, which are not as marketable as a cash crop. Characteristic recipes often consist of hearty one-dish meals, in which chunks of meat and various vegetables are eaten in a savory broth, with bread or other staple food. Sausages are also amenable to varied readily-available ingredients, and they themselves tend to contain offal and grains.
Peasant foods often involve skilled preparation by knowledgeable cooks using inventiveness and skills passed down from earlier generations. Such dishes are often prized as ethnic foods by other cultures and by descendants of the native culture who still desire these traditional dishes even when their incomes rise to the point where they can purchase any food they like.
List of foods
- Acquacotta, an Italian soup that dates to ancient history. Primary ingredients are water, stale bread, onion, tomato and olive oil, along with various vegetables and leftover foods that may have been available.
- Baked beans, the simple stewed bean dish
- Barbacoa, a form of slow cooking, often of an animal head, a predecessor to barbecue
- Bulgur wheat, with vegetables or meat
- Cholent, a traditional Jewish sabbath stew
- Feijoada, a Brazilian dish originally made by slaves from leftover ingredients from their master's house
- Gazpacho, typically a tomato-based vegetable soup, traditionally served cold, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
- Greens, such as dandelion and okra
- Head cheese, made from boiling down the cleaned out head of an animal to make broth, still made
- Hominy, a form of corn specially prepared to be more nutritious
- Horsebread, a low cost European bread, that was a recourse of the poor
- Lampredotto, Florentine dish or sandwich made from a cow's fourth stomach
- Minestrone, the meal in one pot of ancient Italy that is still a basic part of Italian cuisine
- Mulligan stew, a stew often made by itinerant workers
- Mujaddara, an Arabian dish of lentils, rice, grains, and onions
- Pea soup or "pease pudding", a common thick soup, from when dried peas were a very common food in Europe, still widely eaten
- Pot-au-feu, the French stew of oxtail, marrow, and vegetables, sometimes sausage
- Pottage, a staple stew made from boiling vegetables, grains and whatever was available, since Neolithic times in the British isles
- Polenta, a porridge made with the corn left to Italian farmers so that land holders could sell all the wheat crops, still a popular food
- Pumpernickel, a traditional dark rye bread of Germany, made with a long, slow (16–24 hours) steam baking process, and a sour culture
- Ratatouille, the stewed vegetable dish
- Red beans and rice, the Louisiana Creole dish made with red beans, vegetables, spices, and leftover pork bones slowly cooked together, and served over rice, common on Mondays when working women were hand washing clothes
- Salami, a long lasting sausage, used to supplement a meat-deficient diet
- Scrapple, pig scraps, cornmeal and other flours and spices fried together
- Soul food, some aspects come from foods that could be taken on a transatlantic passage
- Succotash, a blend of corn and beans
- Taco, foods placed on native flat breads in South and North America
- Famine food, foods turned to in times of crisis, sometimes across whole societies
- Slow Food, a social movement inspired by home cooking and regional tradition as an alternative to fast food
- Social class
- Traditional knowledge
- Albala, Ken (2002). Eating Right in the Renaissance. University of California Press. p. 190. ISBN 0520927281.
- Ciezadlo, Annia (2012). Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War. Simon and Schuster. p. 217. ISBN 1416583947.
- Daly, Gavin (2013). The British Soldier in the Peninsular War: Encounters with Spain and Portugal, 1808-1814. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 100. ISBN 1137323833.
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- Bryceson, Deborah Fahy (1978). Peasant Food Production and Food Supply in Relation to the Historical Development of Commodity Production in Pre-colonial and Colonial Tanganyika. Service paper / University of Dar es Salaam. Bureau of resource assessment and land use planning. 72 pages.
- Dyer, Christopher (1989). Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages: Social Change in England C.1200-1520. Cambridge University Press. Chapter 6. pp. 151- . ISBN 0521272157
- Brierley, John S.; Rubenstein, Hymie (1988). Small farming and peasant resources in the Caribbean. Dept. of Geography, University of Manitoba. Volume 10 of Manitoba geographical studies. Chapter 1.
- Fieldhouse, D.K. (2012). Black Africa 1945-1980: Economic Decolonization and Arrested Development. Routledge p. 146. ISBN 113687822X