Did National Cuisine Decline Too?

Among the various European countries, you will find excellent national cuisine. In some countries there are more proud of it than in others. At the top are probably the French, and at the bottom the Nordic countries. Given how poor the latter used to be, this is perhaps not much of a surprise. After all, if you fight for survival in a socialist hellhole, then you just don’t have the time or energy to advance the art of cooking. Thus, the traditional Swedish dish is the pedestrian meatballs. You may now object that the French have the “Pot-au-feu”, a kind of stew. While this is true, there is just not equivalent of fine Swedish cuisine, so this comparison would miss the point.

Over the centuries, the Italians came up with all kinds of pasta and pizzas, and some of the most exquisite desserts you can find anywhere. Surely, at some point someone thought that only serving minced meat is a bit boring, so they experimented and came up with lasagna — sometime in the 16th century! Gradually, knowledge of how to make lasagna spread, and nowadays you can buy a variant of it in the form of frozen ready-made food in any supermarket. However, can you think of anything relatively recent coming out of Italy? The pizza is an 18th century invention, for instance, and since then there seems to have been some stagnation. This did not just happen in Italy but in all Western European countries.

There is of course some experimentation going on, but this is normally fake and gay. You can go to an expensive restaurant, and you may get an unexpected combination of ingredients or a variation you did not really expect. Yet, none of those dishes will ever enjoy any kind of mainstream adoption. The only other example of experimentation I can think of are those fake and gay local specialties. For instance, in St Tropez you can buy the La Tarte de Saint-Tropez, a relatively unexciting cake. Every bakery has it, but it is so traditional that it dates all the way back to the 1950s. This is not at all surprising when you consider that St Tropez used to be a fishing village. Of course, those made-up local specialties are only an attempt to make you spend some money because how could you visit St Tropez without tasting their fabled local cake?

It makes you wonder how we moved from having excellent, local cuisine to utter stagnation? I know little about cooking schools. However, I also do not think that innovation in this field necessarily comes from the top. For instance, it seems much more plausible that many local dishes are simply based on tradition, and got subsequently refined. Lasagna, for instance, is supposed to have roots in some Ancient Greek dish. Is any refinement happen nowadays? I am tempted to say that this is no longer the case. However, unlike with music and the fine arts, it seems that this was not the result of a deliberate destruction of a cultural tradition spanning many centuries if not more than a millennium. In the past, people simply used to cook, and the more cooks you have, the more smart cooks you have. Today, your smart office workers just go to a restaurant or get food delivery instead of cooking for themselves. In the past, those people would not even have had the chance to climb the socioeconomic ladder, so an intellectually gifted cook may simply have begun experimenting as a means of entertaining himself, whereas his duller colleagues just went through the motions.

17 thoughts on “Did National Cuisine Decline Too?

  1. I don’t know a lot about this topic, but I have some hypothesis:
    1) there is less local regionalism. So in the past you would have each region within a country still clinging on to their local traditions, including cuisine, which is a bit district from the national ones. Nowadays you normally just have one national culture. I guess having more local tradition and competition between regions brings in more innovation.

    2) if you go to a European city there isn’t much local cuisine in the first place. In Berlin you don’t have many German restaurants – but a tons of thai, Lebanese, Turkish, etc restaurants

    3) the best cooks who experiment do high end dining. I can imagine in that scene there is a lot of innovation going on. But somehow this innovation doesn’t trickle down to the food eaten by commoners.

  2. Aaron,
    Is there a particular German recipe/dish that you like to cook and perhaps share the recipe with your followers?

    1. Have you ever had Black Forest gâteau (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)?

      I’m not a fan of sweets, nor do I have a sweet tooth, however, the only pastry I like to consume is either German chocolate cake, ironically not German, rather an American dish and cannoli. It is hard to find a good cannoli.

    2. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is excellent. My mother’s is very good. We used to have it somewhat frequently when I was a kid. Imagine using fresh cherries from your garden for it! For somewhat special occasions, like a birthday, it is popular. It also takes a lot of effort, so I am not sure that most women not only lack the skills but also the time for it. As I no longer eat sugar, I abstain from all kinds of cake, though.

    3. I would not dare to cook it, but I am rather fond of pork knuckle. It is very popular in the South of Germany.

    4. Huh, black forest is my favorite sweet. It’s kind expensive, but I only get it like 1-2 times a week (supermarket sells by slice).

      Also, since I don’t eat sweats, I only have a little, and throw the rest in the toilet. Its enough to stave of craving for sweets. Used this trick and it worked for me.

    5. To expand, black forest is part of my diet strategy. It’s so good that I can get away with one bite of black forest and don’t need or crave other sweets. I think of it as the king of sweets almost. Other things are like peasants in comparison. At least that’s how I frame it. I treat myself to this delicacy, and then don’t need a bunch of cheap sweets.

  3. I think we cam blame white supremacy pseudoscientific theory. When you think about it critically it doesnt even make sense at the outset, because of the recessive genes.

    Then after you can recognize a pattern. Your examples prove the point. Pizza and pasta? China had them first, but then Marco polo visited… Why do noodles look so much like pasta, they copied italy? Lol. Maths? Arabs had arabic numerals first. Printing press and gunpowder? Likewise China was first, but with wood printing and fireworks only.

    Looks like white supremacy made europeans forget the past and made them erroneously believe they didnt copy others or that copying was not a huge factor in becoming successful. Actually it just shows that copy and expand/adapt whats China does now is hiatorically speaking a winning strategy.

    Its gonna take a while before Europeans realize copying Africa, Middle East, Eastern europe, Asia, Latin America etc is the winning strategy. HINT: China and Russia are multicultural societies, actually with more minorities and more segregation than in the West. They also have way more muslims. Like tens of millions more.

    Ofcourse it morphed into western hegemoney/exceptionalism so its not really “white ” supremacy anymore.

    1. So when did white genes become recessive? Surely, if our genetics are so weak, we would never have been able to achieve anything. Instead, the white man created the modern world. Something really does not add up here, so perhaps study a bit of logic, yet another of whitey’s inventions. I would also like you to tell me more about the great contributions of the Arabs to modern mathematics.

    2. I have not seen much convincing proof for the pasta to have its origination in China. The Italian cities could just have invented it themselves without recoursing to borrow it to China.

    3. And since when is recessive automatically bad? LOL. Blue eyes are generally considered attractive by both genders.

  4. @Aaron

    Didnt mean white genes or recessive genes are weak


    Didnt mean blue eyes are ugly

    Maybe I used the wrong term here. Ive seen alot of irrational white ppl bashing lately anf Im guessing you assumed im one of them, explaining the criticism im getting. The problem I see more properly worded is “supremacist mindset” and lack of willingness to learn from others. White supremacy is just an example of it and it was the start of it, but many other subgroups whether left or right or anything in between Ive noticed the same behavior, which seems counterproductive to me.

    As for the Arab example, i find it interesting the glorydays of white ppl came AFTER the gloeydays of the arab empire and after explorers traveled the silk road. What took them so long?

    Its almost like they learned from others. Something that barely happens nowadays in the West.

    @Cuong Quoc Vu
    The food is not really my point. But i noticed a pattern. Noodles around year 0 in China. Middle ages Marco Polo, and only AFTER that pizza and lasagna.

    There are always others to blame with a supremacist mindset. But its more interesting to be contrarian. Is it really the “Jews”, for example? Or simply the broken western system?

    Asia also has jews, somehow peaceful coexistence seems possible.

    Why do ppl want to raise kids in China insteaf of Europe?
    Maybe Europe can learn something from Asia, instead of mocking them all the time. Like how Russians are constantly mocked for having too much “asianness”. Imagine if europeans mocked arabic numerals, paper or gunpowder, printing press or noodles, simply because it all came from Asia, and refused to engage with them. Would the glorydays still have followed?

    Same how China is always mocked for copying, even tho learning from others is a winning strat. Alrdy no.1 in innovation in just a few decades is the result.

    Maybe its because ppl in West only get exposed to a censored history, like lone genius inventor stereotypes, dunno…

    1. White peoples individualism is our greatest strength and our Achilles Heal. So an ethnocentric, intelligent tribe can fairly easily turn us against our ethnic interests. In contrast to Iran an China who evolved in climate conditions that favored tribalism rather than Europeans fighting the environmental conditions during the ice age.

  5. There are only so much tastes that can be combined. There are only 12 notes in our western sphere music. There’s a limited number of pleasing combinations you can create.

    A lot of the exciting stuff in cuisine came to exist during a time when new flavors where brought from elsewhere in the world. Now the thrill is over and you can only reshuffle so much. Cuisine got weird with fusion and “cuisine moleculaire” which is a forced attempt to recreate the classics within a new style. Same with music. Modern music tried the same and what happened? We still listen to Bach, more than to Shostakovich and we still like our Sauerkraut and not some whatever the fucking gay shit French toe sucking idiot is calling “Lasagne décomposé” which you couldn’t recognize, but has remotely something to do with minced meat (uhh sorry, tofu) and noodles and tomatoes.

    We’re out of ideas, brothers. “There’s nothing new, only old forgotten.” (Russian proverb)

    1. This is the plot vs story argument: While the plots of theater plays, novels, and movie plots still follow a structure the Ancient Greeks came up with 2,500 years ago, there are still many stories left to be told. The same is true for music, or architecture, for that matter. We know how to build a house or a cathedral, yet for some reason we cannot even get close the timeless beauty of a cathedral built in the supposed dark ages.

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