Culture Clash to Culture fusion – when it works, it really, really works!
Cooks soon notice that cooking varies from culture to culture. Far Eastern cooking is different from Midwest American cooking. Even in the United States, Southern cooking and Northern cooking varies greatly. We all know what Cajun cooking is and probably realize that it comes out of Southern Louisiana.
Often differences arise from what food is found in different parts of the world. Rarely will you find corn growing in Asia, but it is a staple in South American cooking. We who live near the oceans and lakes eat seafood, while those who live inland must import seafood, so the cost of cooking it may become prohibitive.
Sometimes religions prohibit certain foods. Kosher food does not include pork or shellfish. So Kosher cooking exists where large Jewish populations exist and can support Kosher markets and butchers.
Because only so many edible substances exist, cooking the same food different ways is often the only difference between tastes that come from different cultures. In South American countries, peppers are a dominant taste in food and the hotter the food, the better, while in North America, cooking with too much pepper would leave the food uneaten.
I think that one of the realizations all cooks come to is that food all over the world is much more the same than it is different. One only has to look at bread, found in all cultures and parts of the world. The French have crepes, the Greeks have pita, Indians have naan, Jews have blintzes, South Americans have tortillas. All breads, all different, yet all the same. We use them in the same way. We wrap our food in bread and generally find it at every meal. We make bread from corn, wheat, rice. If we can make flour, we can make bread. Each culture adds its own flavor because of what is grown locally, what has been passed down through the ages or what is accepted as culturally acceptable.