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Learn about peasant cuisine

Cultural and


Cultural and

Peasants possess
a greater sense of
sharing than city dwellers.

In my travels, I've noticed that most peasants are quick and gracious in offering their hospitality. Personal and group integrity also tends to be stronger among the peasantry. As Cato the Elder observed in 200 B.C., "Farmers are, of all men, the least given to vice." This value is ingrained in the peasants' way of life, because there are fewer people for them to depend on in times of adversity. Firm and lasting bonds must be made with neighbors.

Religion and folk tradition
in general is more closely
tied to the eating ritual.

It is not uncommon, for example, for the women in a peasant household to spend several days before a holiday preparing the dishes of their ancestors.

Means of identification

Peasants unconsciously use their culinary traditions to identify themselves with their peer group and to exclude outsiders from membership in their group. Their unique cuisine gives them psychological reassurance that they are a special people. It also binds them, an essential quality when a hostile force threatens them.

New foods

Because of the identification factor, peasants are less likely to try a new food. Case in point: Within the last half century, thousands of peasants in Asia and Africa starved because they refused to eat the unfamiliar ingredients imported by relief agencies.

Familiar foods

When it comes to these foods, peasants are more economy-minded than their city brethren. A country cook in China will, as the saying goes, use everything but the squeal of a pig.


The more isolated a peasant's homestead, the more sufficient they tend to be.

Emotional attachment

I've met peasants who tended to view the land not so much as a means of generating income, but as an intrinsic aspect of life itself. Not only do they develop a deep emotional attachment to the soil that furnishes their livelihood, they also focus most of their familial thoughts and hopes on that small piece of real estate.

Way to market by Boeckhorst & Snyders - 17C


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

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