Our relationship with food

Food can be your friend and food can be your enemy.

Food provides us with the nutrition necessary for survival and good health.  Mind you, this requires that we have access to nutritious food and then that we actually choose the nutritious food over other options.  This becomes trickier all the time as the list of “other options” to avoid gets longer and longer, now including not only too much fat, sugar, and salt, but also red meat.  And in case you haven’t noticed, that includes steaks and roast beef!!

Food can bring us comfort. Most of us have certain meals that we think of as comfort food; it’s often food that reminds us of our favourite meals growing up.  Chicken soup is a classic comfort food, especially if you’re feeling under the weather.  For some of us it’s a turkey dinner cooked to perfection – with the trimmings we are used to of course, not the trimmings someone else is used to!  For Inuit far away from home in Northern Canada, being able to have country food (such as fresh seal or whale meat) is a huge comfort, as well as incredibly nutritious.  My daughter-in-law, who grew up with Korean food, finds comfort and satisfaction in nearly any Korean food, as opposed to what I know how to cook for her (sorry, Irene).  My friends from Bhutan often carry bottles of hot sauce with them when they have to travel to western countries, so that they can drown the dull taste of western food with the hot, spicy taste they take comfort from.

Certain eating experiences can conjure up some of our fondest memories, similar to the way hearing a song from our youth brings back memories.  Meals and music are both associated with good times.

Most of us have favourite foods, our go-to foods of choice or maybe a rare special treat that’s worth waiting for and never disappoints.  Actually, for me some of those come this time of year when fresh fruits and vegetables are being harvested.  Truly fresh corn on the cob and peaches only last for a few weeks where I live, and those are special weeks in my books.  For many people, as I found out recently, it turns out that lemon meringue pie is one of those favourites.  And hence the impetus for this post.

Food-LemonMeringue

When I posted about all the special national events celebrated on August 15 in addition to National Acadian Day here in New Brunswick, little did I imagine that my throw-away line about it also being National Lemon Meringue Pie Day would garner more interest than celebrating the independence of India from the Brits or the independence of South Korea from the Japanese.  Or of course what for me was the main event of the day, National Acadian Day. But guess what got the most comments?!  It turns out that lots of people who read my blog really love lemon meringue pie.  So I decided to embark on a little research (googling) on the topic.

Before we look at the results of my research into favourite pies, let’s take a look at favourite foods around the world more broadly.  There are several online surveys looking at this important question, and there are some consistencies, especially where pizza is concerned.

Food-Pizza

Here’s one from Zegrahm Expeditions that’s very generic, which may be the most reasonable way of classifying such a huge range of dishes from around the world, although the categories sound so bland compared to the reality:

  1. Pizza (pizza is #1 in every single list I could find)
  2. Pasta
  3. Hamburger
  4. Soup
  5. Salad
  6. Bread
  7. Rice
  8. Eggs

Sushi and tofu also featured on many of the lists, as did tacos and ramen.

Food-Faves1

Here’s a more dish-specific list of world favourites, compiled by World Travel Connector:

  1. Italian Pizza
  2. Turkish Doner Kebab
  3. American Hamburger
  4. Middle Eastern Falafel and Greek Gyro (similar to a doner kebab)
  5. Middle Eastern Hummus
  6. Russian Caviar
  7. Chinese Peking Duck
  8. Chinese Dim Sum
  9. Italian Spaghetti
  10. Italian Lasagna

As I say, sushi, tacos, and other Asian delicacies feature on other lists.  But you can see that there are some trends.  And these trends point to the countries whose cuisines are rated the most popular on virtually every online survey I could find.  Just like pizza as a meal, Italy was the #1 country for good food on every list.  The order of the other countries varies a bit, and some countries appear on one list and not another or are further down the list.  Is your favourite cuisine represented?  Are these cuisines available in restaurants in your town?

Food-ItalianCuisine

1. Italy (#1 cuisine on everyone’s list)
2-10.  Some combination of: China, France, Japan, India, Greece, Spain, Thailand, Mexico, Lebanon, South Korea, United States

And now for the initial inspiration for this post: favourite pies.  The results of this search produced some surprises, at least for me.  Clearly, taste in pies varies enormously from place to place, even within North America.  What I was really looking for was whether lemon meringue pie was really as popular as some of my readers suggested.  Talk about a serious question. 😉

It turns out that global favourite pie lists include pot pies, sweet potato pies, pies made with ingredients I had never heard of, and a number of other pies that I discarded as not being dessert-y enough for this competition.  Now, like the world’s favourite foods lists above, not every list agrees on this important question.  But here, from thetoptens.com, is a list of the top 10 favourite dessert pies that I can relate to.  Ta-da:

Food-ApplePie

  1. Apple pie
  2. Pumpkin pie
  3. Cherry pie
  4. Pecan pie
  5. Key lime pie
  6. Banana cream pie
  7. Lemon meringue pie
  8. Blueberry pie
  9. Oreo pie
  10. Chocolate mousse pie
  11. Peach pie (I added this one because I can’t believe it didn’t beat out #9 and #10!)

And there you have it, lemon meringue pie does indeed make it into the top ten list, at least according to The Top Ten website.  I hope you like a few of the pies on the list.  And I hope you know someone who actually takes comfort from baking your favourite pie for you.  The good news is, if you don’t have such a person in your house you can always head to your local baker or grocery store and pick up your favourite pie to go with your pizza tonight.  Whatever you choose, you’ll be in very good company!

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45 Responses to Our relationship with food

  1. oguguakizito says:

    Food is our best friend

  2. Pingback: Understanding Our Relationship With Food - DG Speaks

  3. Mercedes says:

    Food is so interconnected to our sense of self in so many ways. It ties us to our families, to our communities, to our ancestry, and to our social grouping. It can convey our values, our status, and our creativity. I work in agribusiness and food production and one of the hardest things to change are peoples taste preferences. Even when we know we have developed a negative relationship with an unhealthy food, we are extremely reluctant to change our eating patterns. I’m completely fascinated by food. I could easily talk about it all day. ☺️

  4. Love this post, Jane! My favourite pie is cherry. Always has been, though I enjoyed a locally made blackberry/apple pie once last year and loved it. My favourite comfort food is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with, and a tuna casserole. My hubby, who’s Asian, loves anything with noodles, egg and vegetables cooked in a broth. We both have to eat less fat and carbs for health reasons now, so we’re adopting a Mediterranean/Asian diet. It should be an interesting experience.

  5. barryh says:

    But what about good old English fish and chips?

  6. BernieLynne says:

    Some very interesting lists as usual Jane. You do such great research for your posts. As to pie – my fav is #2 on the list and my husband’s # 1 didn’t make the list (raisin). Pastry is not my strong suit but I make it anyway. As to fresh season things – it’s tomato and basil sandwich season! It will be that for the next month. Then it will be soup season and I’m a HUGE fan of every soup I make! That’s probably my #1 comfort food. My husband’s #1 comfort food — cookies! Good thing I love to bake.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I’m with you, Bernie; freshly picked anything is really an entirely different species than its distant relative that we get shipped from far and wide for most of the year. Freshly ripened tomatoes, yum. And I wonder if there’s a husband anywhere whose comfort food isn’t cookies! 🍪

  7. heimdalco says:

    I LOVE it! I actually sat back in my desk chair & clapped my hands when I realized where your topic came from. What fun! I love the list of favorites but especially the pies. I agree … peach SHOULD have rated ahead of Oreo. I like all of the pies on your pie list but would rearrange the list to put lemon meringue as #1 & I prefer pie to cake any day of the week. There’s a small pie shop on the road in a very rural part of our county that is family owned & run & has a rich county history, years ago being the first black owned business in the area. The pies are superb … so superb, in fact that they have been featured in Southern Living Magazine & more recently on Good Morning America. I hosted a local TV talk show for 6 years & had the owners on for an interview, hoping they would bring me a pie. They didn’t but I “researched” the show by going to the pie shop & having a slice of warm caramel apple pie. It went immediately from my lips to my hips in the most delicious way. The matriarch of the family, 97 years old at the time, assured me that pie eaten for research had no calories.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol. I told you I was thinking about exploring this clearly popular topic! 😊🥧🍕OMG, I LOVE the research you did when interviewing this special pie shop. That kind of research sure beats googling! I can tell that I really would have liked this matriarch; she and I share a similar way of thinking!

  8. Jean says:

    Last 2 sentences were about Calgary scene. It is amazing to find very interesting food in unexpected places. I would recommend Masala, an East Indian restaurant in Banff. For instance, in the mountain town of Golden, BC we had a wonderful meal at a restaurant where I had German spaetzel with shrimp and all cooked in a light curry sauce. The owner was German-East Indian couple.

  9. Jean says:

    Pizza, if one removes pure Italian version, is highly flexible. One can invent a tasty range of topping combinations. Even a fruit pizza which I make. I’m surprised cavair ranks over lasagna. Some people hate the mouth feel of anything like cavair or fishiness (which doesn’t bother me in the slightest) or even eggs. Some people have real food dislikes. Ok, I do have an opinion about Calgary’s cuisine choices: they do love their beef. And I can’t knock Alberta AAA quality. It’s all over the place. Alberta is the lst province over Ontario and B.C. where I’ve lived, where there are enough women here who love their steak. I never got that in Toronto nor Vancouver. I would strongly recommend that bison meat is great. One just has to know how to prepare quickly to preserve tenderness. I always miss fresh seafood from the Pacific west coast. I don’t consider the Chinese restaurants nor many of the Asian restaurants of that same range of choice and better quality in Toronto and VAncouver. It’s getting slowly better but with covid..that change will be vey slow. There are some great Italian restaurants.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks for so many great observations and recommendations wrt restaurants, Jean. It’s worth exploring the strengths in every region. Certainly on both coasts people would be missing out if they didn’t avail themselves of so much fresh seafood.

  10. Pingback: Our relationship with food — Robby Robin’s Journey – Musings and Wonderings

  11. As my wife has learned when you marry into a Newfoundland family food is always a topic of conversation and a focal point of gatherings.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Newfoundland hospitality, introduced to the world by Come From Away, is such a great example of the central role of food in family and community building, Wayne. And I think that’s true in many if not most cultures, the sharing of food or “the breaking of bread” to create bonds.

  12. Inkplume says:

    The topic may not be serious but it’s fun! I am not a big fan of pies which is a good thing since I couldn’t make a good crust if my life depended on it. I will admit to loving lemon meringue pie enough to buy crust and make the filling and meringue to top it!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      You and I are of the same mindset when it comes to making pie crusts, Linda. I was surprised and relieved when decades ago I asked my mother-in-law for secrets of success in making pie crust. She told me she always bought the readymade pie crusts! Making meringue would be another stumbling block for me, so you can take a bow.

  13. Food is the backbone of life. Thank you 😊

  14. LA says:

    I’m always up for a food post

  15. I like every single pie on that list, but then again I prefer pie over cake. I used to make pies fairly regularly, but our low-carb diets put that to rest. Sigh.

  16. I felt my pants stretch with the list of desserts and all my favorites!!!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol, Rita. And the scary thing is (or maybe satisfying is a better word), you’re undoubtedly able to make yourself some of these delicious pies, unlike me. 😊

  17. You should include biryani, chicken tikka and chicken/mutton karahi from Pakistan in the list, you will love them. Btw awesome topic with descriptions of many delicious foods. ❤️

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Gosh, what great examples. I love chicken tikka and biryani. That makes me realize that all these lists that include Indian cuisine as a worldwide favourite really mean the Indian subcontinent. So many delectable dishes from your part of the world, I don’t know how people choose which to include in their lists.

  18. Scrumptious! When this post came up in my WP Reader offerings, all I saw were all of your pictures. No text just pictures. Of food! I wondered what Jane had in store for us today, and the Dagwood Bumstead in me wasn’t disappointed. I can’t argue with any of your offerings, except to say that soup is never bland! 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever had an Oreo pie, btw. – Marty

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol. Glad I didn’t disappoint, Marty. Re the soup, I only meant that the descriptions were bland (I’ll fix that), but you’ve obviously never had a few of the flavourless, soulless soups I’ve had. But there are many remarkable soups, for sure. Re the Oreo pie, me neither. And I’m in no rush to change that!

  19. Haifa Miller says:

    Wonderful topic! Thank you for sharing this info. Food is a wonderful way to share time with loved ones. Breaking bread together. Bread is a whole wonderful topic all on its own.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Haifa. See, I wouldn’t have known how popular food could be as a topic if I hadn’t thrown in the oblique reference to lemon meringue pie on Aug 15! What an insightful addition, the notion of breaking bread together and the custom, culture and history that can be woven around the making and inclusion of bread. Hmm, I’ll have to give that some thought!

  20. Linda Sprague says:

    My husband loves any kind of pie I make, but in fact, it’s mainly the crust he loves. The thicker, the better! It’s a good thing I don’t indulge him often!

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