The Mediterranean Diet
Hello BAKED fans! I hope everyone had a relaxing break and is settling into the first few weeks of classes! This semester I’m taking NSD 354: The Mediterranean Diet. The course discusses the food and culture of the Mediterranean region, which includes the countries of Italy, France, Egypt, Greece, Morocco, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Spain, among others. Part of the class includes a trip to Florence this summer. I can’t wait!
The Mediterranean Diet is more than just feta cheese and hummus. People of the Mediterranean reject processed, Americanized versions of food and favor wholesome meals with family. Dinner is a serious occasion and can take as long as three hours! Now that’s a lot of pasta. Interestingly, there are over 100 varieties of pasta in Italy. That’s something to put any Easy-Mac lover to shame.
The Mediterranean Diet is mostly plant based with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables. Red meat is rare in the region because it is difficult to graze cows on steep hills. However, this dry, hilly environment is perfect for growing olives and grapes. Olive oil is the main fat used in cooking. The Mediterranean Sea provides a steady supply of fish, another key component of the Mediterranean Diet. It’s no surprise that people in the region are healthier than those in other countries. Less animal fat means lower instances of heart attack and obesity. Instead of brownie sundaes and bowls of ice cream, fresh fruit is the norm for dessert. Dairy products such as cheese are consumed in low to moderate amounts. You won’t see any street vendors selling nachos.