Today we went to the Portland Italian Food Festival. Portland doesn't appear to have many Italians, and the booths were not that great, but it got me thinking about the great cuisines of the world. If forced to make a list of the 5 greatest - or my 5 favorites - this is what I would list:
1. Italian. I love the pastas, pesto, tomato sauce, pizza rustica, stuffed pastas, olive oil, wine.
2. Chinese. This could be divided into multiple regional cuisines, but I wanted to keep my list fairly short. Dumplings/potstickers, noodles, stir fries, spicy vegitable stir fry. Endless variety. Garlic peanut sauce over cauliflower - my chosen "last meal" if I'm on death row.
3. Mexican. As a vegetarian, Mexican food gives me great flavors, easy-to-prepare dishes. I love salsas, guacamole, black beans, chilis.
4. Middle Eastern. I don't want to cause any arguments between Greek, Turkish, Arab, but they have a lot of similarities. Hummus, falafel, Greek salad, stuffed this-and-that. I can't eat the sliced-meat gyros but there are lots of other choices. I love the garlic/dill yogurt sauce.
5. Indian. Also multiple regional styles. Lots of highly spiced, flavorful choices, and endless variety for a vegetarian.
Obviously, a lot is missing from my list. What happened to French? Just doesnt appeal to me. German? Well, if it doesnt contain sausage, I don't know a lot of choices. ANd I grew up with a lot of German food. Thai? Vietnamese? There are some great treats, Pad Thai and curries, but I haven't had enough variety to pick those. Ethiopian? FOod that can make me break out into a sweat has definite attraction, but again, Im not familiar with the choices. Japanese? For some reason, Im not as crazy about it.
So, them's my choices for the 5 greatest cuisines. Everyone will have a different preference. Do you know how to cook your favorite?