Peasant foods

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Peasant foods are dishes specific to a particular culture, made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients, and usually prepared and seasoned to make them more palatable. They often form a significant part of the diets of people who live in poverty, or have a lower income 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,[1] 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.[citation needed]

Common types[edit]

Meat-and-grain sausages or mushes[edit]

Ground meat or meat scraps mixed with grain in approximately equal proportions, then often formed into a loaf, sliced, and fried


Ground meat or meat scraps extended with crackers or bread and vegetables, then formed into balls, patties, or loaves and baked.



Fried cauliflower with agliata sauce

Soups and stews[edit]

List of Peasant foods[edit]

Bowl of hominy, a form of treated corn
Pot-au-feu, the basic French stew, a dish popular with both the poor and the rich alike
  • Baked beans, the simple stewed bean dish
  • Barbacoa, a form of slow cooking, often of an animal head, a predecessor to barbecue
  • Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish with an array of pickled vegetables
  • Bulgur wheat, with vegetables or meat[7]
  • Broken rice, which is often cheaper than whole grains and cooks more quickly
  • Ragi balls made from Ragi flour which is boiled with water and balls are formed and eaten with vegetable gravy.
  • Greens, such as dandelion and collard.[7]
  • 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
  • Katemeshi, a Japanese peasant food consisting of rice, barley, millet and chopped daikon radish[8]
  • Lampredotto, Florentine dish or sandwich made from a cow's fourth stomach
  • 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
  • Soul food, developed by African-American slaves and servants, primarily using ingredients undesired and given away by their employers or slaveholders.
  • Succotash, a blend of corn and beans
  • Taco, foods placed on native tortillas in the Americas

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Albala, Ken (2002). Eating Right in the Renaissance. University of California Press. p. 190. ISBN 0520927281.
  2. ^ "Strascinati con mollica e peperoni cruschi". Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Pasta mollicata – bucatini with anchovies and breadcrumbs". Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  4. ^ Viaggio in Toscana. Alla scoperta dei prodotti tipici. Ediz. inglese. Progetti educativi. Giunti Editore. 2001. p. 41. ISBN 978-88-09-02453-3.
  5. ^ Capatti, A.; Montanari, M.; O'Healy, A. (2003). Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History. Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspe (in Italian). Columbia University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-231-50904-6.
  6. ^ Daly, Gavin (2013). The British Soldier in the Peninsular War: Encounters with Spain and Portugal, 1808-1814. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 100. ISBN 978-1137323835.
  7. ^ a b Ciezadlo, Annia (2012). Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War. Simon and Schuster. p. 217. ISBN 978-1416583943.
  8. ^ Cwiertka, K.J. (2006). Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity. University of Chicago Press. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-86189-298-0. Retrieved June 16, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]