Food for Thought

What we can learn from international eating habits.

Food is a universal language. No matter where you live, people appreciate food for both sustenance and pleasure. Americans can learn about good eating habits from attitudes expressed toward food in other regions of the world.

In China, for example, many housewives go to the market twice daily in order to have fresh ingredients for lunch and dinner. The Chinese place such a high priority on freshness that many cooks insist that ingredients be alive until just before being cooked. This means buying chickens that still cluck and selecting fish swimming in market tanks. Many herbs and vegetables are sold with roots still attached.

In the Mediterranean, priority is placed on family meals. Many shops and businesses still close for several hours at lunchtime so workers can return home for a meal. And entire families sit down together to appreciate dinnertime.

In France, it’s important to take time to savor a meal, and diners are never rushed, whether at home or at a restaurant. In fact, it’s possible to remain at the table for hours while chatting and enjoying a simple lunch.

Many Americans rely on convenience and fast-food meals that are eaten quickly with little enjoyment or satisfaction. We might do well to learn from other cultures and try a different approach, at least now and then, to enhance our culinary experiences. Eat fresh foods and take time to enjoy them. It’s easy with the great array of restaurants and supermarkets we have right here in Edina, as well as our Centennial Lakes Farmers Market.