After starting my personal challenge of cooking meals from every country in the world, I started realizing that splitting up cuisines by country sometimes misses out on some larger and more meaningful patterns. An example would be Levantine cuisine. The Levant is a historical geographical pointer to countries in the Eastern Mediterranean part of Western Asia; Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, parts of Turkey, sometimes stretching to include parts of Egypt and Libya. An important common denominator of their respective cuisines is meze, with dishes including tabbouleh, hummus, and baba ghanoush. I cooked ful medames once and put it under my Palestine tab, but it is actually cooked across the region, including Egypt, with which I found it first associated. And there are many more such examples! So instead, I think I should make an effort to classify cuisines on a more content-aware basis.
There are some very interesting Wikipedia articles related to food, cuisines, and history.
- A timeline of foods, listing when certain ingredients came into existence in certain places
- A list of historical cuisines, which includes Aztec, Maya, Inca, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and many more cuisines
- A list of cuisines, in which the templates at the bottom contain more information than the actual article
- The Wikimedia Cookbook
The Wikimedia cookbook nicely groups cuisines by region in the following ten categories.
- African cuisines
- East Asian cuisines
- European cuisines
- Mediterranean cuisines
- Middle Eastern cuisines
- North American cuisines
- Pacific cuisines
- South American cuisines
- South Asian cuisines
- Southeast Asian cuisines
However, this categorization seems to lack a place for Central Asian cuisines including Kazakh, Tajik, Uzbek, and others. Furthermore, though Mediterranean is quite a distinct style, it feels superfluous in my categorization. Might be better to replace it with Central Asian instead, thereby covering practically every part of the world in our ten regions.