by Colin McIntosh
The world of food is subject to changing fashions just as much as clothes or music. Even if we don’t cook ourselves, we watch food shows on TV, we read about it in magazines, we swap recipes with our friends on social media, and we eat it in restaurants. Above all, we learn about new types of food when we travel. Ingredients and dishes from exotic and not-so-exotic places are a never-ending source of new imports to the English language. Here are some that have been recently added to the Cambridge English Dictionary.
Edamame, a Japanese dish consisting of soybeans in their pods that have been boiled in water with salt, is considered to be a superfood and is consumed (in small quantities) by supermodels. A grain from the Andes of South America, quinoa, another superfood, supposedly provides numerous health benefits, including having a low glycaemic index and being suitable for people who are gluten–intolerant. Açaí, a fruit from Brazil, is also a superfood, and a very tasty one.
Italian food, always popular, gives us a steady supply of new foods to add to the old ones, including carbonara, a pasta sauce, and bruschetta, toasted bread with garlic, oil, tomato, etc. (Check the spoken pronunciation online in the Cambridge English Dictionary – no bru-shet-a, please!) But dishes from new countries have recently appeared on the international menu including ceviche, a raw fish dish that is the national dish of Peru, prepared by covering the fish in lemon or lime juice, and nasi goreng from Indonesia, a rice dish with pieces of meat and vegetables added.
On the other hand, some people have chosen to go back to our earliest origins for their diet inspiration. When Homo sapiens emerged in the plains of Africa, their diet reflected what was available to them, and their biology (and ours, since we are the same species) evolved to thrive on it. People of the Paleolithic Period have inspired a diet craze, the paleo diet, that involves avoiding anything that has been around for less than 10,000 years:
She follows a paleo diet high in fruit, nuts, and lean meat, with no grains and no processed food.
Nothing beats an old-fashioned English pudding, though, and banoffee pie, Eton mess, and summer pudding round the meal off nicely. Just not all together, unless you want to look like you’re in the pudding club.