Mediterranean cuisine is the food from the cultures adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea.
Mediterranean cuisine comes from the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea such as Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and various other countries on the Mediterranean. The food consists primarily of fresh fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on poultry and seafood, rice, grains, beans and pastas. Grilling or broiling is the prevalent method of cooking, with olive oil the most prevalent fat or oil used in the preparation of salads, marinades, vegetables, poultry and seafood. Eggplant, artichokes, squash, tomatoes, legumes, onions, mushrooms, okra, cucumbers, and a variety of greens are served fresh, baked, roasted, sautéed, grilled and puréed. Yogurt and cheese are also major components of Mediterranean cooking. Close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea provides access to fresh seafood. Fresh herbs are used in abundance. Classic Mediterranean dishes include Spanish paella and Italian risotto with seafood. Mediterranean cuisine is characterised by flexibility, a wide range of ingredients and regional variations. Whether “Mediterranean cuisine” is a useful category is disputed:
The idea of the ‘standard Mediterranean’ … is a modern construction of food writers and publicists in Western Europe and North America earnestly preaching what is now thought to be a healthy diet to their audiences by invoking a stereotype of the healthy other on the shores of the Mediterranean. Their colleagues in Mediterranean countries are only too willing to perpetuate this myth. The fact of the matter is that the Mediterranean contains varied cultures…
The Mediterranean diet, popularised in the 1970’s, is sometimes conflated with Mediterranean cuisine:
Around 1975, under the impulse of one of those new nutritional directives by which good cooking is too often influenced, the Americans discovered the so-called Mediterranean diet…. The name… even pleased Italian government officials, who made one modification: changing from diet—a word which has always seemed punitive and therefore unpleasant—to Mediterranean cuisine.
The Mediterranean countries are those that surround the Mediterranean Sea.[Clear Both]