Who eats what?

Mirabelle plum tart. RFI / Clémence Denavit

By: Clémence Denavit Follow

Who eats what? When? With whom ? When? Where do we find what we eat? The answers to these questions make all the singularity of societies and men.


Basically, all human beings in the world have the same physiological needs, the choices made to meet these needs by all societies in the world are all different, expressed and affirmed differently through our food.  

Concretely, diets - the ways in which we eat - depend on the climatic conditions of the place where we live, the efforts and the energy that the body needs throughout life. They change with age, the baby and the old will eat differently - in quality, quantity, kind of food consumed. Thus, some societies - the Inuit, or the Nenetses of Siberia for example - who live in polar cold will favor a meat diet, more protein, made of meat, fish, fat for food and to cook and preserve their food. while in India, in contrast, the Brahmins follow a vegetarian diet, strict, by conviction and cultural choice.

Civilizations of wheat, maize, cassava

These diets, quite generally mixed, are based and built around a staple food, and by extension give civilizations of corn, as in Mexico, potatoes in Peru, wheat and breads as in France. Others will rely on vegetables or fruits, roots, some of which have been imported throughout history, adopted by populations, and so integrated that it is difficult to believe that cassava, for example, is not from… Ivory Coast, and that the beans in the cassoulet from southwestern France actually come from America.

The kitchen is resisting

Cultures and civilizations are being built, cuisines are invented, passed on and sign the permanence and identity of regions of the world. The cuisine is resisting by retaining over the centuries the gestures, the utensils, the know-how, the recipes that bear witness to a culture and a people, even when this people loses its land. In the globalization and industrialization of fashions and food products, cuisine is a heritage, a refuge, a link between generations, a beacon for those who are more and for all those who fight to preserve their uniqueness.

With Serge Bahuchet , eco-ethnologist at the National Museum of Natural History , author of "  The gardeners of nature  ", edition Odile Jacob and co-author of the incredible:   " Encyclopédie des pygmées Aka: Techniques, languages ​​et société des chasseurs gatherers of the Central African forest  ”in 16 volumes by S. Bahuchet, JMC Thomas, A Epelboin and S. Fürniss. Peteers-Selaf. Paris / Leuven.

The program is punctuated by songs and music from the pygmies of the Central African Republic and Cameroon.

► To go further

- The exhibition “I eat therefore I am” at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris . Until June 20, 2020. An exhibition to discover the biological, cultural and ecological aspects of our food

- Mexico The Cookbook , by Margarita Carrillo Arronte

- Women from here, cuisine from elsewhere by Alexis jenny with the VRAC association Albin Michel

- Pizza culture and globalization by Sylvie Sanchez. CNRS editions

- In Cucina, the most beautiful Italian recipes by Alba Pezone, Hachette editions.

► Musical program
The call to the hunt - Arom (Simha), 1987 - Central African Republic. Anthology of the music of the Aka Pygmies. Ocora, 2 CD
Songs to think about - Dehoux (Vincent), 1992 - Central African Republic. Music Gbaya Ocora
Nze Nze - games of the Gbaya pygmy children of the Central African Republic
Music of the Baka Pygmies. Arom (Simha) and Renaud (Patrick), 1990 - Cameroon. Auvidis-Unesco.

(Replay of March 14, 2020)

Grilled fish in the oven . Recipe from the book " Le secret des vietnamiennes " by Kim Thuy, published by Editions Marabout.

Preparation 30 min and Cooking 30 min

Ingredients for 6 to 8 people:
1 cup (250 ml) of vegetable oil / Salt and pepper / 1 whole striped bass, about 3 lb (1.5 kg) / 1 cup (250 ml) of mini cubes of stale bread / 12-15 green onions, cut into rings / Half a cup (125 mL) sugar / 1 tsp. (15 mL) salt / 1 cup (250 mL) diluted fish sauce / 2 tbsp. (30 ml) ginger puree / Half a cup (125 ml) crushed peanuts / 1 plate of vermicelli, vegetables and herbs / 1 packet of rice leaves

1 - Preheat the oven to 375 ・ F (190 ・ C).
2 - Oil, salt and pepper the fish, inside and outside, and place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake and cook for 30 minutes.
3 - In a pan heated to medium-high heat, fry the croutons in a drizzle of oil until nicely colored. Put them on absorbent paper and set aside.
4 - Pour 1 cup (250 ml) of oil in a large stainless steel pan and heat over medium-high heat.
5 - Add the sugar and salt. Wait a minute before adding the green onions. Stir well, bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
6 - Mix the diluted fish sauce with the ginger puree and divide everything into ramekins.
7 - When the fish is cooked, transfer it to a large serving dish, cover it with the green onion sauce and sprinkle with fried croutons and crushed peanuts.
8 - Serve a ramekin of ginger fish sauce to each guest. Place the fish and the plate of vermicelli, vegetables and herbs in the center of the table with the stack of rice paper.
9 - Everyone moistens a sheet of rice and composes their roll in their own way before dipping it in the ginger fish sauce.

You can also prepare the recipe with fish fillets.

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