Since the beginning of time, man has looked for food as a means of nourishment in order to survive. Aside from hunting in the wild or the waters surrounding the place where prehistory man has settled, they have also picked from trees and bushes as well. Vegetables have provided man with a source of nourishment and through the years, dishes and techniques have been developed to make them more palatable and delicious, and well, now and the present time, a little bit more creative.
Eaten raw in the table or heated by the fire, vegetables appear as soup and stews with signature dishes in each region. Some vegetables in the course of history have been used not only in food but also in the medicinal sense.
Garlic for example, was consumed by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers and used in the 20th century as a treatment for tuberculosis or phthisis. The olive, a most cited plant in ancient literature has probably had its presence in many books in history, even the Bible as its oil has been used in many religious ceremonies. The leaves are used as incense in some Muslim and Mediterranean countries and during Ramadan; the olives are consumed in place of dates.
Introduction of vegetables link nations together and influence their dishes through trade. Spanish brought olives to the New World. Popeye’s favorite food, the spinach, originated in ancient Persia. It was the Arab traders that carried this vegetable to India, and then making its appearance in China’s famous dishes. Florentine dishes refer to dishes made with spinach as this was the favorite food of the queen of France, Catherine de’Medici, who was born in Florence.
As the years pass by, vegetables have circulated their way around the globe and they later become included in dishes enjoyed by everyone in the world, in ways palatable to increase nutrition value. Some have taken it to a different level, making it the sole source of food, like in the case of vegetarians. Being readily available in the market, or homegrown garden, many more dishes will evolve as they continue to be consumed and enjoyed worldwide.