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Learn about peasant cuisine

What is a peasant?


What is a peasant?

In the context
of this writing ...

A peasant is a small-scale farmer, rancher, herder, hunter, or fisherman. Unlike the city dweller, the peasant is close to his food source.

By no means is he
necessarily impoverished

As with the members of the urban working class, some peasants are nearly destitute but others have sufficient resources to prepare interesting and high quality dishes. My peasant cuisine guide concentrates on the best of peasant cookery.

The first peasants

Anthropologists tell us that the peasant class came into being some ten thousand years ago, with the birth of agriculture. The first peasants were, in the words of Daniel Webster, "the founders of civilization."

Until fairly recently,
practically everyone
was a peasant

Though a small, steady stream of peasants was migrating to the towns, the big exodus didn't begin until the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century. Farmers, forsaking the soil, flocked to urban centers to search for jobs in factories. Nevertheless, peasants still account for most of the world's population.

How many peasant
ancestors do you have?

You probably have more peasant ancestors who've lived since the time when Columbus discovered America than you might imagine. Because there have been roughly twenty-five generations of your forebears since 1492, you have mathematically 33 million direct ancestors (parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on) who have walked on the earth during the past five hundred years. Unless your blood is pure-blue royal, millions of your progenitors were peasants.

Peasant Wedding painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder


Famous peasant dishes

Arroz Con Pollo  Spain
Cassoulet  France
Cha Chiang Mein  China
Couscous  Morocco
Houskove Knedliky  Czech Republic
Huevos Rancheros  Mexico
Nasi Goreng  Indonesia
Osso Buco  Italy
Oyako Donburi  Japan
Roghan Josh  India
Tom Yam Kung  Thailand
Vatapa  Brazil
Yalanci Dolma  Turkey

Peasant cuisine home page

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Understanding peasant cuisine

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