Food Staples in the World
The English Conversation Group met on 24 September 2018 in the lovely home of Julie Beelen-Heidl. We focused on food staples around the world; in other words, we went back to the basics. On display were rice grains of different varieties, including rice noodles and a Persian saffron rice pudding, an organic corn cob, an Egyptian fava bean appetizer, a German potato salad and Julie’s home-made bread.
While rice continues to be the main staple in many Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand, corn (maize) is a major food staple in North and South America, Africa and some parts of Europe. The rice varieties are amazing: Basmati, Jasmin, Indonesian, Japonica, Sri Lankan and Thai, among others.
Argentinians have maize, wheat (bread, pasta), and manioc to choose from, thanks to the different climatic zones. Mozambicans have also maize, cassava (manioc), rice and wheat for their daily needs. The Cape Verdean national dish Cachupa is a stew prepared with mashed maize, green bananas, manioc, sweet potatoes and yam.
Beans are a part of most Egyptians' daily food intake. Ful and Falafel, prepared with fava beans, are enjoyed over centuries. Couscous, a wheat staple in North Africa, especially in Tunisia, is the beloved national dish. Djiboutians are originally nomadic people; a dough of flour, water and salt is traditionally cooked that can be served savory or sweetened. The British cannot do without their fish and potato chips, pies and sandwiches, nor the Germans without their potato dishes, Wurst and bread. Likewise, no Italians can go without their pasta and pizzas.
After a lively exchange of information among participants of diverse cultures, we embarked on the second half of our meeting, which was the bread-making demonstration by Julie. We had the opportunity to taste the freshly baked bread with delicious dips, together with the international food brought along to the meeting.
Finally, we wish to express our appreciation and thanks to Julie for hosting this first meeting of the new club year 2018-2019.