Gastronomy and Culture: what do these subjects have in common?

Today’s post is about two importants themes that I’m really passionate about. And anyone who already knows The World in Sandwiches project is familiar with this. We are going to talk about the relationship between gastronomy and culture, it will be amazing to delve deeply into this subject.

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So stick around and have a great read.

What is culture?

First, it is worth understanding what the word culture means. Shortly, it is knowledge, habits, ideas and all the elements that define the characteristics of a group.

So, when we filter this list and talk about habits and customs, it is inevitable to think about the eating habits of certain group of people.

Gastronomy and culture: our everyday meal

A typical example of what I said above is referring to the habit of Brazilians eating beans. The Pinto beans (AKA feijão Carioca) have nothing to do with carioca (people who were born in Rio de Janeiro).

Despite being the most consumed in our country, in Rio de Janeiro, people prefer black beans.

Therefore, the ingredients, the method of preparation and the types of dishes consumed by a portion of the population are much more than simple recipes: it is the habit of a group directly reflected in the way they eat.

And that’s why gastronomy and culture are two subjects that go together and, during my journey as a digital nomad, I had the opportunity to see this in practice. Especially in the farofa expedition, the project I’m carrying out at the moment.

Who am I?

I’m Rodrigo Schmiegelow, an advertiser specializing in Digital Marketing, today I live as a Digital Nomad (what is it). In other words, I have geographic freedom and can work from anywhere in the world.

That’s why I can have amazing experiences like this.

I started a trip around the world to get to know places, cultures and regional cuisines. I will bring great surprises from these experiences.

I’m on the Farofa expedition, getting to know regional cuisines from all over Brazil.

Follow the O Mundo em Lanches Project  (The world in sandwiches) blog on Instagram.

What does gastronomy say about people on their own?

When we look at a food and understand its trajectory, we can understand issues that go far beyond an ingredient that we see on the supermarket shelf.

It is possible to explore aspects such as colonization and how the territory was occupied by people from all over the world.

In other words, as an example Brazil, culture was formed by the sum of the cultures of countless other nations and eating habits are fully included in this scenario.

Look how interesting this is: right at the beginning of the 20th century, 30% of São Paulo‘s residents were Italians. For that reason and some other causes, pizza and lasagna are two of the most consumed dishes in São Paulo.

Likewise, the famous chicken okra stew – a typical Brazilian dish – was created in the 19th century. When the population of Minas Gerais had difficulty buying other ingredients from major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Bahia.

They put both chicken and okra together and the result was a real success. No wonder it became famous around the world.

What have I learned about gastronomy and culture?

At each of my destinations, I have the opportunity to learn a little more about gastronomy and culture. I see in practice how these issues are intertwined.

When I remember one of my first trips to the Cerrado (region in Brazil named after its vegetation). I immediately think of the pequi, a very common fruit in this region.

In addition, the typical cuisine of Belém do Pará (city of the state of Pará, located in Brazil)  was really attractive for me. There, it is cultural to consume salted açaí, maniçoba – it looks like a feijoada (dish made of means and pork), but it is made with crushed manioc and pork – and tucupi – sauce extracted from wild manioc root.

When we look at the eating habits of a portion of the population, we understand a lot about the relationship between gastronomy and culture.

And it is precisely these two points that underlie the project The world in Sandwiches: getting to know the culture of a people through their food.

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