Understanding other cultures can be made more interesting if we apply all our senses to the task.

Understanding other cultures can be made more interesting if we apply all our senses to the task.  Up until the Corona Virus curtailed many of our usual activities we used the sense of taste with this assignment.  Now, we will have to get a bit more creative.  You will still need to choose a food, beverage or a spice (in a food or beverage) that you will present a slide show on during a Zoom presentation to share with the class.  You will need to research and examine your chosen gastronomic delight and prepare a report as to their use and/or history to give us insight of what a culture is like.

Make sure you cover the five ‘W’s of who, what, why, when and where.  Don’t forget to throw in the how.  Specify who usually eats or uses it, what it is that you’ve chosen to report on, why you’ve chosen this or why that culture uses or eats it, when it is used and where or what country or culture uses it and how it is used/prepared.  Have fun with this assignment.  Throw in some unusual facts or why you chose this food, beverage or spice to report on.  And, give us lots of details; a full report.  To juzessh it up give us pictures of your chosen food, beverage or spice, someone, even yourself eating it and a setting of the country where this food, beverage or spice came from.  You will need to turn in a copy of the slides, a copy of your notes and present your chosen food stuff via Zoom to get any credit.  In addition to this, it is always fun to include a recipe.  This assignment is worth 40 pts., dependent upon how thoroughly you have researched and presented your food, beverage or spice.

NOTE:  Plz do not use overly common food/beverage items such as Sweet Tea, Pizza or Hamburgers.

Examples of the five ‘W’s:

The following is an extremely brief example to just give you an idea of what I expect in much more detail

What – ‘Mate’ is an herbal tea-like beverage.

Who – It is used by people in several South American countries.

Why – It is used as a form of socialization, passing the mate from person to person in their immediate group of family and/or friends.

Why – I chose this beverage to report on because I saw it utilized in Argentina and saw interesting paraphernalia that accompanied its use.

When – Mate originated in approximately the late 16th century and is still used today.

Where – Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia

How – It is steeped using a couple different methods.

Thorough example:

Pasta

Ahhhh, pasta.  Everybody loves pasta.  And, when we think of pasta, we usually think of it coming from Italy.  After all, they organized a World Pasta Conference in 1995 in Italy and have commemorated pasta every year in October since 1998.  Perfect timing for our Multicultural Potluck.  In Italy, it is a staple food of their traditional cuisine.  Now, it is savored in one form or another on five continents throughout the world.  Talk about diffusion of the yummiest kind.

Theories abound as to whether or not pasta originated in Italy.  Some think Marco Polo brought it to Italy when he returned from China in approximately 1295.  Yet, an inventory list from the estate of a Genoese soldier in 1279, included a basket of dried pasta.  The Greeks lay claim to the creation of pasta due to the depictions carved into stucco reliefs in Etruscan tombs of a knife, board, flour sack and an iron pin thought to have been used to make hollow pasta.  The first mention of cooking pasta was recorded in the 5th century AD found in Arabic references.  Thus, it could have been introduced during the Arab conquests of Sicily.  During the 14th and 15th centuries, it was so popular, it was believed to have been included in the supplies of food stuffs being carried on ships bound for exploration of the New World.

Pasta can be found in more than 600 different shapes.  In Italy, it is usually made from Durum wheat that is milled into semolina and mixed with water.  Now other flours are used as well.  Pasta in its many forms is so enjoyed because of its affordability, versatility, availability, storage ability and last but certainly not least, adaptability.  Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing pasta here in the U.S. in 1789 when he brought it back from a trip to France.  Thank you, Thomas Jefferson.  Today, I can’t even begin to list all the different types of pastas we enjoy here in the states.  Probably the two latest additions to that list are couscous and gnocchi.

The toppings used on pasta are almost as varied as the types of pasta, depending on what country and culture is doing the topping.  The Spanish are given the credit though of starting the use of tomato based toppings dating back to the 16th century.  One of my personal favorite toppings is cheese.  Come to find out, it was ‘all the rage’ in the Middle Ages.  The cheese topping known as Alfredo Sauce was believed to have been created in 1914 by Alfredo Di Lelio, a Roman restaurateur .  His pregnant wife had lost her appetite.  So, in order to entice her into eating, he whipped together a yummy mix of egg noodles, butter and cheese.  Later, along with a family friend, they opened up a chain of Alfredo restaurants in America.  When Hollywood stars ate there, it spread the popularity at a rapid rate and is still popular today.  Diffusion at work again.  Yumm, enough details, let’s eat.