Monday, February 24, 2020

The Origin of Crops

Despite his very many achievements and exploits Sir Walter Raleigh is perhaps most celebrated in the UK for introducing the potato to Europe. This celebration owes much to the British love of fried potatoes and perhaps to the poor standard of geography teaching (it is now believed that Raleigh never visited any locations where he could have discovered the potato).

According to the Origin of Crops the potato originally came from tropical South America and the Andes. This interactive map, created by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, reveals the geographical origins of all of the world's major food crops. On the map agricultural crops are mapped to the region of the globe where they were first domesticated.

As well as the potato South America is the origin of pumpkins, chillies and sweet potatoes. Europe is responsible for crops as varied as apples, carrots and peas. We owe coffee, melons and olives to Africa, and Asia is the home of rice, ginger and wheat (some of these crops were of course domesticated in more than one region of the globe).

Every country in the world has its own favorite foods, regional dishes and local styles of cooking. You can explore these regional differences on the TasteAtlas. The TasteAtlas is an interactive map which allows you to explore the local foods, dishes, tastes and cuisine of any location in the world. Using the map you can search different locations to discover the kinds of things the locals like to eat and drink. It is a great way to discover the tastes of regions around the world and, at the same time, get a little inspiration about what to eat tonight.

A great feature of TasteAtlas is that you can search the map for individual foods. For example here is the cheese map of the world and here is the bread map of the world. Search for a particular type of food and you can zoom-in on the map to discover the local varieties available at different locations. For example, on the cheese map you can zoom-in on France to discover all the local varieties of cheese available in different regions of the country. Or, if you search for the pasta map of the world, you can find out which different types of pasta come from the different regions of Italy.

No comments: