Washington, July 10 : Brazilian researchers have found that cultural cuisines remain little changed as generations move on.
Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo used the medieval cookery book Pleyn Delit, and three authoritative cook books from Britain, France and Brazil-the New Penguin Cookery Book, Larousse Gastronomique and Dona Benta respectively-to compile statistics that could be compared to see how time and distance affect the three different national cuisines.
The researchers used time, the number of ingredients used, the number of recipes published in each book, and the ratio between the number of ingredients and the number of recipes in the books as variables to assess the evolution of diets.
With a view to determining how the Brazilian diet had changed over the past half century, amidst the change from a regional to a more globalised food consumer profile, the researchers evaluated three editions of Dona Benta, from 1946, 1969 and 2004.
It was found that the importance of certain idiosyncratic ingredients like chayote, an edible plant that is a frequent ingredient in Central and South American diets, remained much the same.
The researchers then ranked the importance of certain food types by their frequency of use in each national cuisine, and compared them to ingredients that had an equivalent rank in one of the other two foreign cuisines.
Their efforts seemed to reveal that a global food culture had not shifted some die-hard culture-based eating habits. "Some low fitness ingredients present in the initial recipes have a strong difficulty of being replaced and can even propagate during culinary growth. They are like frozen "cultural" accidents," write the authors of the report, published in the Institute of Physics (IOP)'s New Journal of Physics (NJP).