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, 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.
Meat-and-grain sausages or mushes
Ground meat or meat scraps mixed with grain in approximately equal proportions, then often formed into a loaf, sliced, and fried
- Goetta, a pork or pork-and-beef and pinhead oats sausage
- Groaty pudding
- Haggis, a savory dish containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while encased in a sheep's stomach
- Lorne sausage
- Scrapple, pig scraps, cornmeal and other flours and spices fried together in a mush
- Black pudding
- Pasta con i peperoni cruschi, an Italian pasta dish from Basilicata, defined a true representative of "cucina povera" (peasant cooking)
- Pasta mollicata, Italian pasta dish from South Italy, especially Basilicata, often known as a "poor man's dish".
- Agliata – a garlic sauce in Italian cuisine that has been a peasant food, and also used by upper-class people
Soups and stews
- 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.
- Cassoulet, a French bean, meat, and vegetable stew originating from the rural Southwest that has since become a staple of French cuisine
- Cawl, a Welsh broth or soup
- Cholent, a traditional Jewish Sabbath stew
- Chupe, refers to a variety of stews from South America generally made with chicken, red meat, lamb or beef tripe and other offal
- Duckefett, a German sauce
- Dinuguan, a Filipino Pork Blood Stew infused with vinegar.
- Feijoada, originally a Portuguese stew consisting of beans and meat; also 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.
- 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 there and in French Canada
- 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
- Ratatouille, a French stewed vegetable dish
- Shchi, a traditional Russian soup made from cabbage, meat, mushrooms, flour and sour cream, usually eaten with rye bread
- Shepherd's pie, a stew baked under a potato crust
- Zatiruha, an Eastern European soup
List of Peasant foods
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
A slice of pumpernickel bread
- 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.
- "Strascinati con mollica e peperoni cruschi". tasteatlas.com. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Pasta mollicata – bucatini with anchovies and breadcrumbs". greatitalianchefs.com. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- Viaggio in Toscana. Alla scoperta dei prodotti tipici. Ediz. inglese. Progetti educativi. Giunti Editore. 2001. p. 41. ISBN 978-88-09-02453-3.
- 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.
- Daly, Gavin (2013). The British Soldier in the Peninsular War: Encounters with Spain and Portugal, 1808-1814. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 100. ISBN 978-1137323835.
- Ciezadlo, Annia (2012). Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War. Simon and Schuster. p. 217. ISBN 978-1416583943.
- 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.
- 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