One of the things that makes the world great is the vast array of customs and traditions that each country, and indeed, different regions within each nation, have. These changes create a rich tapestry of new things to explore and try. Despite the obvious language diversity, one enormous cultural variety between countries and people from differing backgrounds is food. In the UK, the tradition of having breakfast, dinner and supper varies greatly to other places in the world; even areas whose own culture has thrived as a direct result of many British descendants. In addition, though the British may take it for granted, there are many foods and eating styles in the UK that are quite iconic.
Take America, for example. Whilst dinner, in Britain, is often meant as the meal in the middle of the day, across the pond, dinner is a term widely associated with an evening meal. Brunch is a cultural icon in the United States, but here, mid-morning snacks are often skipped in favour of an afternoon tea. Thought the quintessentially British tea has diversified greatly from the traditional pastries, finely cut sandwiches and tea, it’s a cultural icon around the world. Even the tea itself is often considered quite a strange idea, as many people living outside of Britain drink their tea black, and the thought of adding milk is quite peculiar to them.
Aside from the simple terminology of meals, the way food is eaten can also be a cultural variation. Those from East Asia, who are used to only using chopsticks to eat their food, must think it extremely strange when Westerners require knives and forks. Likewise, for many across Asia and the Middle East, it’s natural to eat with their hands. The thought of fine dining with a plethora of cutlery, wine glasses and finely folded napkins might well seem like quite a joke.
Food differences, and what’s considered a local delicacy, can also be extremely different depending where in the world you are. Most people might shiver at the thought of eating snails, but this is a well-known French treat. Likewise, for those in Britain, particularly in Scotland, haggis is a staple food that’s enjoyed on a regular basis. It’s not much to assume that, for some people, the thought of eating a conglomerate of sheep intestines and off-cuts is not the pleasurable experience those in Scotland know it to be. On top of this, popular foods that have found their way into other cultures are often extremely different to their origin. For example, someone with Chinese heritage might be quite disdainful when they looked at a British ‘Chinese’ takeaway menu.
The differences between cultures is one of the things that makes the world so wonderful, and being able to take the time to enjoy cuisine and various methods of eating is something that’s very popular with a lot of people. There’s a great range of options, even in Westernised worlds, and for the true foodie, there’s always something new and exciting to discover.