Technology has improved our lives in any number of ways. But one of the most significant is often the least talked about. We give a lot of attention to smartphones, computers and similar breakthroughs. But we seldom take a moment to consider how modern technology has impacted food availability.
Most of the human history has involved food scarcity of one type or another. Most people can think back to at least a few historic events prompted by the search for spices or exotic ingredients. But modern technology now provides us with the ability to get almost any ingredient we desire.
Worldwide shipping is the biggest contributor to this increased selection. For example, what we usually call Chinese food is the result of food scarcity. Asian immigrants naturally wished they could have some of the meals they loved from their old homes. But ingredients from Asia were often absent from the West. So, they tried substituting more common items for ingredients they no longer had access to.
Sometimes the substitutions would create almost the exact same effect. For example, some forms of western medium grain rice differ only slightly from what’s found in Asia. But there are other instances where the differences are easily noticed. Asian and Western mushrooms often look alike, but the taste and texture are distinct between regions. This has made American Chinese cuisine a little different from either of its sources.
But one can see how modern shipping methods have sparked big changes in American Asian food. Consider a hypothetical example of any type of asian food irvine ca. This style would incorporate the rich history of Asian American cuisine.
The restaurant can also take advantage of modern shipping methods though. Many of the ingredients which have no direct substitution can now be imported inexpensively. They’re often even grown locally. This is also where local style comes into consideration. California’s climate is comparable in many ways to areas in Asia. As such, one will often not even need to rely on shipping. Local farmers or even smaller hobbyists may well cultivate plants that aren’t normally found in the US.
But even our hypothetical restaurant can’t find a local source, the importing process will often incur very little extra cost. This is especially true for ingredients which don’t weigh much. There are also instances where an ingredient can be specially prepared in advance for long term storage and shipping. The earlier example of mushrooms highlights this point.
A significant portion of a mushrooms weight is just water. When they’re dehydrated their weight goes down significantly and they gain an impressive shelf life. The texture will be noticeably off for dishes centered around the mushroom. But if the recipe only uses the mushrooms to add flavor to the broth than they will work perfectly at only a fraction of the cost for fresh mushrooms. The main thing to keep in mind is that almost any ingredient is now available to people all over the world. When we consider that fact, we can often modify recipes in some unique and wonderful ways.