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The Western Asian Cuisines contains the cuisines of various countries. Historically it has been the cradle of Sumeria, Akkadia, Assyria and Babylon. A particularly fertile strip of land where wheat was first cultivated. As a gateway between Europe and Asia, the Middle East has seen a large influx of trade, and as a result many ingredients have become an integral part of their cuisine. Egypt doesn’t belong geographically in this area, but since in the past it was the only country in North Africa conquered by the Persian empire and so it absorbed uses, and customs.
Wheat and rice are staple foods in Western Asian Cuisines. Wheat is used for the production of various types of bread and for the preparation of Cous Cous and Bulghur served with vegetables and meat. Rice is usually served under meats and vegetables that are cooked stewed or grilled.
Butter and clarified butter are usually used for cooking. The Christian part also often uses olive oil and even the Jewish part to not mix meat with dairy products, as prescribed by the customs of Jewish Kasherut.
The foods are flavored with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cumin and coriander. Among the fresh herbs stand out mint and parsley. Sumac is used to season meat, fish and even salads. A very popular mixture of spices is Zahatar prepared with sesame seeds, sumac, thyme and oregano.
The Jewish and Islamic religions prohibit the consumption of pork, so the most consumed meats are those of mutton and lamb but they are not the only ones. They are cooked stewed or grilled on a spit-roasted.
Ample is the use of coffee and tea, but there are various drinks consumed fresh even during meals, such as Ayran. Although by religion the majority of the population doesn’t consume alcohol there is a large production of Arak an aniseed-flavored alcohol that can be consumed diluted with water and ice. They also produce beer and wine.
The Middle Eastern Customs
The food of the tables of the Western Asian Cuisines are always prepared with great care. You start preparing early and the host is always treated with extreme care. Meals are eaten around a low table where the meal begins with meze, or many small preparations that are consumed as an appetizer. Despite the abundance of meze even the meal will be plentiful. The meal does not include the use of cutlery and dishes other than those provided for the service. You use a large tray in the middle of the table usually with your hands or using bread.
The Main Meals
Breakfast in Western Asian Cuisines is a meal that differs according to the area, but often include honey, yogurt, dried fruit, fruit juices. But also dishes such as salads, soups, eggs, olives, fish, bread and much more. Lunch is a meal that is usually eaten between one and three in the afternoon and consists of a light meal usually composed of meze, or in the cities you resort to various kiosks or fast food.
Dinner instead is the richest meal of the day. Served between 8 pm and 11 pm. It’s composed of several dishes. The dishes vary according to the region, but generally they use a lot of dried fruits, vegetables, fish and meat mainly grilled. Carbohydrates are supplied by legumes, long-grain rice and various traditional breads. In the western asian cuisines, the meat is mainly lamb or chicken, usually cooked with vegetables and dried fruits. Fish is consumed in the countries overlooking the sea. Vegetables abound both cooked and raw.
The desserts of Western Asian Cuisines are among the most popular often made with phyllo dough, honey and dried fruit, but also baked preparations or puddings such as Muhallebi. There is a wide use of drinks such as tea and coffee but also fresh fruit juices and cold yogurt-based drinks.