Fish, shrimps, an abundance of vegetables and fruits, pasta
(the usual pasta in the most incredible manifestations), nuts, a little
red wine – this is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. In general, everything is fresh and very tasty. And the health consequences are most remarkable: the scientists ^ one after another prove that such a diet reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular, oncological and other diseases.
As well as obesity, which is the “base” for the aforementioned ailments. According to recent studies by scientists at the Columbia University Medical Center in the United States, the Mediterranean diet even significantly reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Fans of the Mediterranean diet are Hollywood stars, show business people, famous politicians.
Actually, in the 60s of the last century American nutritionists Anselm and Margaret Keys systemized the diet of Italians, Spaniards and Greeks for the sake of them, who are called in the press by the fashionable word celebrity, introducing the concept of “Mediterranean diet”. The desire for a healthy diet played a secondary role here.The main thing is the ability to maintain an ideal figure without hard diets and grueling physical exercises. As a matter of fact, it is possible to name this healthy, tasty and varied food with great strain. In the Mediterranean diet, there are practically no products under strict prohibition: sweets and baked goods are available, although in moderation. Meanwhile, it is the national cuisine with its abundance of fish and vegetables that the Italians owe to such figures for the sake of which Hollywood stars sweat for hours in gyms and pay a lot of money to dietitians.
But as soon as the Mediterranean people switch to normal European food with an abundance of meat and milk, the risk of all sorts of diseases increases dramatically. So, the Cypriots, who forgot about the fish with vegetables and turned over to the meat, begin to grow fat. Among the male population of the island, the number of obese people is almost a quarter. No, they themselves do not suffer, on the contrary, they refer to the appeared abdomen with humor. But doctors caution: excess weight provokes the development of the most dangerous diseases. Moreover, this process is faster than among peoples who are accustomed to “unhealthy” according to scientists’ meat and milk diet genetically. For example, Chinese women who abandoned the usual vegetables and soybeans, and switched to the European diet, get a considerable risk of developing breast cancer. According to the Chinese Association for Cancer Control, since the early 1990s, the number of cases of eating from European foods in food from Chinese women has increased by almost 40%.
In short, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet are undeniable. This prompted the Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, to advocate that UNESCO declare the Mediterranean diet a heritage of humanity. Spain appealed to all European countries to support it in this. Portugal and Italy have already announced that they fully share the desire of the Spaniards. Thus, the Italian gourmet association has issued a statement, which says that the “Mediterranean diet”, as a source of health and longevity of the inhabitants of southern Europe, is worthy of taking the place of honor in the UNESCO list.
The authorities of the Spanish province of Catalonia have already taken the same initiative, where the Mediterranean cuisine is still popular. According to the representative of the government of the autonomy of Marina Geli, it is the producers of healthy Mediterranean products that can reverse the trend towards fast food. Indeed, in Catalonia, despite its rich culinary traditions, fast food is spreading more and more. Literally at every step you can buy all kinds of burgers, french fries and cola, but national the kitchen needs more to look. As a rule, such restaurants can be found away from hiking trails. In the opinion of the Catalan authorities, it is UNESCO, contributing to the preservation of everything that contributes to the history of mankind, will be able to help here.
Recall that the very idea of creating a list of the wealth of mankind, which includes cultural wealth, needing world support, protection and protection, appeared in the early 70-ies of the last century. At that time, the countries that are members of UNESCO began to create a list. Contrary to the entrenched opinion, it includes not only monuments of architecture, but also natural attractions, animals, plants and even cultural traditions. The list is constantly updated. For example, most recently it included the cult place of the Brotherhood of the Holy Ghost Congolese from Villa Mela in the Dominican Republic, Azerbaijani Gobustan and the Sicily Opera dei Pupi dolls. The number of applicants, however, does not decrease: in fact to get on the list of UNESCO means not only to gain the world custody and financial protection, but also to get new tourists. And this is income to the country’s budget. For example, a statue of Christ the Redeemer in the Brazilian Corcovada, recently declared a new wonder of the world, is visited annually by 600 thousand people. Now the Brazilian authorities expect that the flow of those who wish to join the shrine will grow several times.
However, getting on the UNESCO list does not mean relaxing and resting on your laurels, eating international money. You can easily fly out of it. For example, the world heritage is no longer considered the reserve of Arabian antelope in Oman. In the opinion of the World Heritage Committee, this country has failed to maintain the exceptional world-wide significance of the reserve. This conclusion was reached by the Committee after the Government of Oman decided to reduce by 90% the size of the protected area. The object was included in the World Heritage List in 1994, after the country’s authorities managed to restore the first herd of the unique Arabian antelope in 1982. The last wild animal died ten years before.
But back to the Spaniards. In the territory of this country there are 38 objects protected by UNESCO, and it is in second place in the world after Italy. The buildings of Antonio Gaudi, the Alhambra, the old city in Cordoba and Zaragoza are not a complete list of the pearls of the world culture on the list. Now Spain is determined to add there also Mediterranean cuisine, thus creating a kind of precedent. After all, before the culinary delights, UNESCO specialists have not reached the hands so far. This year, the organization will again recruit the list, and there are chances of success with pan-European support. Then on the turn will be Mexico, already long demanding to recognize the cultural heritage of mankind cactus vodka tequila. Say, in the districts in the areas of production of tequila, there was a merger of two cultures, architecture, means of production, which you will not find in any other corner of the earth. If this goes on, the French champagne (who will say that the world does not drink it) or the American hamburger (let it be harmful, but not the universal food of the future) is the national treasure. Are there really not enough arguments to join the battle for the right to be called a cultural heritage?
However, the Mediterranean cuisine can not be denied that it is tasty and useful. Perhaps the support of UNESCO will help her in the unequal struggle with fast food, although modern people are so busy that they prefer food on the principle of “easier and faster”. And for those who, despite the workload, still find time for culinary delights, we can cite a recipe for the Mediterranean potato salad. It is not too difficult to prepare, useful, and, most importantly, tasty.
Ingredients 4-6 servings:
500 g young potato;
100 g of red beans (from the can);
100 g of fennel bulbs;
a handful of pitted olives;
to 2 tbsp. spoon capers,
finely chopped green onions and unrefined olive oil;
2 teaspoons tarragon (can be dried);
juice half a lemon;
400 g of canned artichokes.
Cook the potatoes in slightly salted water until half cooked, then dry and transfer to a large bowl. Add there finely chopped fennel, olives cut in half, beans, greens and capers. When the dish has cooled, place artichokes and finely chopped eggs there, then season the salad with olive oil mixed with lemon juice. Bon Appetit!