For thousands of years, people have eaten what was available in their area. Corn became a staple food in Central America, along with squash and beans. Wheat was valued in Europe, while rice was the grain of choice in Asia. Yams, plantains and cassava were staple foods in Africa. People flavored the foods with local spices and seasonings, and regional foods were born.
Today, we have a much broader range of food choices. Through refrigerated transportation, we have access to exotic foods from faraway places. Immigrants and travelers bring new flavors and dishes with them. In many parts of the world, though, regional foods haven’t changed much. People eat the same foods their ancestors ate hundreds of years ago.
Think about the regional foods of your area. In the southwest, for example, chiles, beef and tortillas are favorite foods. If you live near the ocean, you probably eat more seafood. Ask your parents about old family recipes.
Fun Facts about Regional Foods for Kids
- The Loco Moho is a favorite regional food in Hawaii. It consists of rice, which is topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and brown gravy.
- Southern favorites include fried chicken, grits, collard greens, pickled pigs’ feet and biscuits.
- In the Pacific Northwest, you might try grilled salmon served with wild mushrooms, asparagus or fern fiddleheads. And don’t forget berries for dessert.
- In the Midwest, you can still find many German or Amish foods, such as sauerkraut and scrapple, a type of sausage.
- Visit Massachusetts for New England clam chowder, and be sure to sample a hot dog in New York.
Regional Foods Vocabulary
- Staple food: a common, abundant food used to sustain life
- Cassava: a starchy root
- Access: means of approaching, entering or acquiring
- Ancestors: family members who came before you
- Immigrant: someone coming from another country
All about Regional Foods Video for Kids
Watch this awesome Regional Foods video for kids:
A video about the different regional dishes that are considered as favorites in the USA.
Regional Foods Q&A
Question: What types of food are used most commonly in regional foods?
Answer: In most countries, grains form the foundation of meals, followed by vegetables. Meat is often used less frequently. In America, we eat a lot of chicken, pork and beef. In many parts of the world, though, goat or lamb meats are the most common types.
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