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.
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.
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:
- Pizza (pizza is #1 in every single list I could find)
Sushi and tofu also featured on many of the lists, as did tacos and ramen.
Here’s a more dish-specific list of world favourites, compiled by World Travel Connector:
- Italian Pizza
- Turkish Doner Kebab
- American Hamburger
- Middle Eastern Falafel and Greek Gyro (similar to a doner kebab)
- Middle Eastern Hummus
- Russian Caviar
- Chinese Peking Duck
- Chinese Dim Sum
- Italian Spaghetti
- 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?
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:
- Apple pie
- Pumpkin pie
- Cherry pie
- Pecan pie
- Key lime pie
- Banana cream pie
- Lemon meringue pie
- Blueberry pie
- Oreo pie
- Chocolate mousse pie
- 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!