Cuisine is diet that's unique to a physical place and a human cultural group. We can taste the patterns of modern cuisine in the melding of characteristic ingredients into characteristic forms. Wheat noodles with tomato sauce points us in the direction of Italy. Fermented spiced cabbage leads us to Korean kimchi.
DISCLAIMER: These are my thoughts and experiences on what can be a deeply cultural, charged and personal topic: diet. There is a lot we don’t know, especially when it comes to what a sustainable diet is. For one, most studies have been centred in high-income Western countries (Jones et al., 2016); it’s also still largely unclear exactly what a “healthy diet” should consist of, nevertheless what a truly sustainable society would look like. Integrating all of these concepts is an enormous challenge.
When I was a teenager, I traveled for a few months with a Mexican shoe-shiner I met in Mazatlán. We thumbed rides across the country and were taken in along the way by a dozen or so of his relatives. I often found myself in the kitchen with his aunts, cousins, and nieces, making tamales, sopes, or other dishes that were new to me.
When my dad was in third grade, his class followed the cirriculum laid out in a workbook. In times of boredom and monoteny, he would flip ahead and learn new material the class was soon to arrive at. One day he came across a particularly interesting bit: a tongue twister. My dad spent the next six weeks practicing the tongue twister in secrecy of his classmates until, finally, the class caught up to that point in the workbook. The teacher gave each student the opportunity to recite the tongue twister from the book, and each student who attempted this tongue twister stumbled through a slew of "Betty botta buddhas," until it was my dad's opportunity.