Some say that there are over 350 Italian local bread types. Similarly Pasta is also key ingredient in food items. Antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce are main courses in Italian meal. Antipasto comprises appetizers which can be served hot or cold. Pasta is usually included in the primo, or soup and pasta course. Secondo is the main meal and is usually fish or meat. Beef or Veal is most commonly used in preparing secondo. Dolce is desert and there could be another side dish called contorno which is usualy salad.
Another specialty of Italy is its wine and a wide variety of locally produced wine is available in the country. The wine and food for Italians is lethal combination. They have even many special food and wine fairs.
Italian lunch and dinners are sumptuous and Italians love to eat the two meals of the day. Italians love to serve food and like other people to savor their dishes so visitors not enjoying their meals and eating in a rush can be considered an insult for the Italians. Going through courses slow and easy while relishing the food is relished by the Italians.
Indian culture is something that sets it apart from all other countries discussed above. A country where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians live together, making it a truly multicultural and unique country. Also it is a big country and that is why its food and cuisines also vary according to regions.
Indian food is generally considered exotic because of spices and garnishing. Rich aromas as well as the taste make Indian dishes unique as most of the dishes satisfy the taste buds. Indian curry is not just enjoyed by the locals but it has even acquired popularity in countries like UK.
Indian cooking is considered simple as it involves blending and stirring rather than specific techniques. The use of spices is also in abundance but there is no specific preference for cooking oil like it in case of Italy where olive oil is preferred. The Most basic Indian dish is prepared in easy to follow steps. Firstly a curry or gravy is prepared by mixing spices with the oil and then vegetable or meat is added and later cooked. In old Indian traditions all spices such as clove, cardamom, mustard seeds, nutmeg, etc. were not powdered and used as it is to give taste but now most of the spices are used in the powdered form.
The dish cooked in a curry or gravy is generally eaten with either rice or bread or both. The bread in India is different from the ones in Italy. In India, bread is called 'Roti' and is made in the rounded shape. A variety of breads are available made with wheat, rice and ground legumes but they all have the round shape. In a typical Indian meal there are usually two or more dishes, like kebabs, pilafs, kormas and yogurt dishes, comprising vegetable dishes as well as meat curries. Pulses are also used as a side dish. Apart from these yogurt and salad is also used as supplements to the main dishes.
Indians generally have a sweet tooth and like to eat deserts after meals. Sweetmeats called 'Mithai' hold special value in the Indian traditions. These mithais are used on every occasion; marriages, engagements, birthdays, delivery of child etc.
Regional differences in dishes are also quite evident in the use of food. People living in Bengal are fonder of fish while inhabitants of Hyderabad like to use pickles with the food. People in the South give a lot of importance to coconut milk while goan community uses pork and ducks to prepare their meals. The influence of history is also evident in the culinary culture as Mughals ruled India for a long time. "Those parts of India with the longest history of Mughal rule exhibit strong Persian influences in their food, using fresh and dried fruit, cashews, pistachios and almonds in their meat dishes as well as a great many dairy products. The cuisine of royalty, Mughlai dishes may use as many as 12 spices in a single dish including the most expensive of them -- saffron, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves" (Freeman, n.d.).
Differences in eating habits also exist among different castes as well as different religions. The top castes of Hindus mostly stick to vegetables while lower castes also use meat. Hindus do not eat beef at all because cow is considered sacred in Hindu religion. Muslims only differ in the sense that they do not use alcohol and pork.
Each country is different from other as far as the food and eating habits are concerned. In India & Turkey people have three meals routine while Italy has two meals. Pasta, coffee and bread are the mainstay of Italian food while India relies on rice and bread along with a main dish. Both Turkey & Italy give a lot of importance to olives and its oil while Thailand & India rely on spices and curries. Italians prefer coffee any time while Turkish people go for tea. While Gaeng & Yam are the special names of courses in Thailand, Italy calls its courses Antipasto & Secondo. Food traditions in each country are influenced by its religions as well as its past history. It is these differences that make people relish the uniqueness of food and culture all over the world.
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