You'll find just about everything you need to know to have a Great BBQ Party
Some excellent advice on how you can make a Healthy Diet part of your life
The lowdown on worldwide standards for Organic Food and how it is regulated
Excellent information on those businesses that prepare and serve food and drinks to customers
Here's a look at the history of everybody's favorite food and how it's prepared
Everything you need to know about planning, serving and seating your next dinner party
Valuable information on how you can put together a rather formal multiple course meal
An explanation of just what “Natural Foods” are supposed to be… and what to look for
Find out what “Diet Foods” are… and what to look for when shopping for them
Health food is food marketed to provide human health effects beyond a normal healthy diet required for human nutrition. Foods marketed as health foods may be part of one or more categories, such as natural foods, organic foods, whole foods, vegetarian foods or dietary supplements. These products may be sold in health food stores or in the health food or organic sections of grocery stores.
For people who are healthy, a healthy diet is not complicated and contains mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and includes little to no processed food and sweetened beverages. The requirements for a healthy diet can be met from a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods, although a non-animal source of vitamin B12 is needed for those following a vegan diet. Various nutrition guides are published by medical and governmental institutions to educate individuals on what they should be eating to be healthy. Nutrition facts labels are also mandatory in some countries to allow consumers to choose between foods based on the components relevant to health.
You can maintain a healthy weight by eating roughly the same number of calories that your body is using.
Limit intake of fats. Not more than 30% of the total calories should come from fats. Prefer unsaturated fats to saturated fats. Avoid trans fats.
Eat at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day (potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots do not count). A healthy diet also contains legumes (e.g. lentils, beans), whole grains and nuts.
Limit the intake of simple sugars to less than 10% of calorie (below 5% of calories or 25 grams may be even better.
Limit salt / sodium from all sources and ensure that salt is iodized. Less than 5 grams of salt per day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Organic food is food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming in general features practices that strive to cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in farming. In general, organic foods are also usually not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents or synthetic food additives.
Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by regional organizations, national governments, and international organizations. Although the produce of kitchen gardens may be organic, selling food with an organic label is regulated by governmental food safety authorities, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or European Commission.
Fertilizing and the use of pesticides in conventional farming has caused, and is causing, enormous damage worldwide to local ecosystems, biodiversity, groundwater and drinking water supplies, and sometimes farmer health and fertility. These environmental, economic and health issues are intended to be minimized or avoided in organic farming. From a consumers perspective, there is not sufficient evidence in scientific and medical literature to support claims that organic food is safer or healthier to eat than conventionally grown food. While there may be some differences in the nutrient and antinutrient contents of organically- and conventionally-produced food, the variable nature of food production and handling makes it difficult to generalize results. Claims that organic food tastes better are generally not supported by tests.
As you probably know a restaurant is a business that prepares and serves food and drinks to customers. Meals are generally served and eaten on the premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services. Restaurants vary greatly in appearance and offerings, including a wide variety of cuisines and service models ranging from inexpensive fast-food restaurants and cafeterias to mid-priced family restaurants, to high-priced luxury establishments.
Restaurants are classified or distinguished in many different ways. The primary factors are usually the food itself (e.g. vegetarian, seafood, steak); the cuisine (e.g. Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, French, Mexican, Thai) or the style of offering (e.g. tapas bar, a sushi train, a tastet restaurant, a buffet restaurant or a yum cha restaurant). Beyond this, restaurants may differentiate themselves on factors including speed, formality, location, cost, service, or novelty themes (such as automated restaurants). Some of these include fine dining, casual dining, contemporary casual, family style, fast casual, fast food, cafes, buffet, concession stands, food trucks, pop-up restaurants, diners, and ghost restaurants.
Restaurants range from inexpensive and informal lunching or dining places catering to people working nearby, with modest food served in simple settings at low prices, to expensive establishments serving refined food and fine wines in a formal setting. In the former case, customers usually wear casual clothing. In the latter case, depending on culture and local traditions, customers might wear semi-casual, semi-formal or formal wear. Typically, at mid- to high-priced restaurants, customers sit at tables, their orders are taken by a waiter, who brings the food when it is ready. After eating, the customers then pay the bill. In some restaurants, such as workplace cafeterias, there are no waiters; the customers use trays, on which they place cold items that they select from a refrigerated container and hot items which they request from cooks, and then they pay a cashier before they sit down. Another restaurant approach which uses few waiters is the buffet restaurant. Customers serve food onto their own plates and then pay at the end of the meal. Buffet restaurants typically still have waiters to serve drinks and alcoholic beverages. Fast food restaurants are also considered a restaurant. In addition, food trucks are another popular option for people who want quick food service.
Tourists around the world can enjoy dining services on railway cars and cruise ships dining rooms, which are essentially travelling restaurants. Many railways dining services cater to the needs of travelers by providing railway refreshment rooms at railway stations. Many cruise ships provide a variety of dining experiences including a main restaurant, satellite restaurants, room service, specialty restaurants, cafes, bars, and buffets to name a few. Some restaurants on these cruise ships required table reservations and specific dress codes.
In the United States, it was not until the late 18th century that establishments that provided meals without also providing lodging began to appear in major metropolitan areas in the form of coffee and oyster houses. The actual term "restaurant" did not enter into the common parlance until the following century. Prior to being referred to as "restaurants" these eating establishments assumed regional names such as "eating house" in New York City, "restorator" in Boston, or "victualling house" in other areas. Restaurants were typically located in populous urban areas during the 19th century and grew both in number and sophistication in the mid-century due to a more affluent middle class and to urbanization. The highest concentration of these restaurants were in the West, followed by industrial cities on the Eastern Seaboard.
When Prohibition went into effect in 1920, restaurants offering fine dining had a hard time making ends meet because they had depended on profits from selling wine and alcoholic beverages. Replacing them were establishments offering simpler, more casual experiences such as cafeterias, roadside restaurants, and diners. When Prohibition ended in the 1930s, luxury restaurants slowly started to appear again as the economy recovered from the Great Depression.
In the 1970's, there was one restaurant for every 7,500 persons. In 2016, there were 1,000,000 restaurants; one for every 310 people. The average person eats out five to six times weekly. 3.3% of the nation's workforce is composed of restaurant workers. According to a Gallup Poll in 2016, nearly 61% of Americans across the country eat out at a restaurant once a week or more, and this percent is only predicted to increase in future years.[ Before the COVID-19 pandemic, The National Restaurant Association estimated restaurant sales of $899 billion in 2020. The association now projects that the pandemic will decrease that to $675 billion, a decline of $274 billion over their previous estimate.
Dining in restaurants has become increasingly popular, with the proportion of meals consumed outside the home in restaurants or institutions rising from 25% in 1950 to 46% in 1990. This is caused by factors such as the growing numbers of older people, who are often unable or unwilling to cook their meals at home and the growing number of single-parent households. It is also caused by the convenience that restaurants can afford people; the growth of restaurant popularity is also correlated with the growing length of the work day in the US, as well as the growing number of single parent households. Eating in restaurants has also become more popular with the growth of higher income households. At the same time, less expensive establishments such as fast food establishments can be quite inexpensive, making restaurant eating accessible to many.
Pizza (Italian: [ˈpittsa], Neapolitan: [ˈpittsə]) is a dish of Italian origin consisting of a usually round, flat base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients (such as anchovies, mushrooms, onions, olives, pineapple, meat, etc.), which is then baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven. A small pizza is sometimes called a pizzetta. A person who makes pizza is known as a pizzaiolo.
In Italy, pizza served in a restaurant is presented unsliced, and is eaten with the use of a knife and fork. In casual settings, however, it is cut into wedges to be eaten while held in the hand.
The term pizza was first recorded in the 10th century in a Latin manuscript from the Southern Italian town of Gaeta in Lazio, on the border with Campania. Modern pizza was invented in Naples, and the dish and its variants have since become popular in many countries. It has become one of the most popular foods in the world and a common fast food item in Europe, North America and Australasia; available at pizzerias (restaurants specializing in pizza), restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine, via pizza delivery, and as street food. Various food companies sell ready-baked pizzas, which may be frozen, in grocery stores, to be reheated in a home oven.
In 2017, the world pizza market was US$128 billion, and in the US it was $44 billion spread over 76,000 pizzerias. Overall, 13% of the U.S population aged 2 years and over consumed pizza on any given day.
Pizza was brought to the United States by Italian immigrants in the late nineteenth century and first appeared in areas where they concentrated. The country's first pizzeria, Lombardi's, opened in New York City in 1905. Following World War II, veterans returning from the Italian Campaign, who were introduced to Italy's native cuisine, proved a ready market for pizza in particular.
The first pizzeria in the U.S. was opened in New York City's Little Italy in 1905. Common toppings for pizza in the United States include anchovies, ground beef, chicken, ham, mushrooms, olives, onions, peppers, pepperoni, pineapple, salami, sausage, spinach, steak, and tomatoes. Distinct regional types developed in the 20th century, including Buffalo, California, Chicago, Detroit, Greek, New Haven, New York, and St. Louis styles. These regional variations include deep-dish, stuffed, pockets, turnovers, rolled, and pizza-on-a-stick, each with seemingly limitless combinations of sauce and toppings.
Thirteen percent of the United States population consumes pizza on any given day. Pizza chains such as Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's, pizzas from take and bake pizzerias, and chilled or frozen pizzas from supermarkets make pizza readily available nationwide.
Decide on the date of your party, guest list, and theme. Invite guests to your party early, preferably two or more weeks ahead of time. This will give them time to RSVP and will give you more time to plan.
Make a realistic assessment of your cooking and baking skill levels, and the time you'll be able to commit to the party. There are ways to make things easier - takeout and deli foods are absolutely acceptable, and you can have a cookout, picnic, or a potluck party if you are really busy.
Lists are absolutely essential for any party, as you can jot things down as you think of them. Once you have the basics well planned and written down, your mind will be free to be creative with the food, fun, and decor.
Make your guest list and invite them. Calling is the easiest way to invite, and you will most likely get an immediate response; ask if your guests have any food allergies or preferences while you're at it. For larger parties, like a surprise birthday party, you can send out invitations.
Plan your menu. Have fun with this, but don't overreach! If you are a beginning cook, choose a main dish that you have made before and enjoy. It's a good idea to never make a recipe for the first time for a party.
Take inventory of your supplies: table and chairs, serving pieces, cutlery, crystal, plates, candlesticks, serving areas, and of course your kitchen. Think about renting or borrowing items you don't have. Make sure the things you own are sparkling clean and in good repair.
Think about how you want to decorate. Decorations for a party can be as simple as candlesticks on the table, or more elaborate streamers, balloons, flower arrangements, tablecloths, and even chair slipcovers.
Block out time on your calendar for house cleaning, shopping, decorating, and setting the table. Make sure to save some time before the party so you can get ready and relax before your guests arrive.
Go over your menu, gather your recipes, and plan shopping lists directly from the recipes. Don't rely on your memory for this! Check your pantry too. If you are low on staples like baking powder, sugar, or flour, add those to your list.
Shop for foods and supplies that can be purchased in advance, those that need to be bought the week of the party or special ordered, and the last-minute purchases like fresh berries.
Plan for heavy cleaning, if needed, well ahead of party time. If you need carpets shampooed or windows washed, take care of those chores at least a week ahead of time.
Write down a timetable for the day of the party, counting back from party time. Leave plenty of time for food preparation, baking, cooling and decorating, setting the table, arranging flowers, planning music or games, and getting yourself and the family ready!
Setting and decorating the table and the dining room for your party is fun. If your dining room can be closed off, set it a few days ahead of time. Keeping kids and pets away from a set table is important, so close the doors!
Prepare foods that can be made ahead and store in the refrigerator or freeze.
Follow your timetable, go over lists and make sure to check off each task for the party as you complete it.
Set out each serving dish along with its utensil and place a small card next to it with the name of the food that it will hold. This way you can calmly take foods out of the oven or fridge and just place on the serving tray, then start eating!
Try to plan so you have little to do on the actual day of the party. Take time to relax, take a bubble bath, go for a stroll, or sit in your beautiful, clean house and enjoy before the guests arrive.
A full-course dinner is a dinner consisting of multiple dishes, or courses. In its simplest form, it can consist of three or four courses; for example: first course, a main course, and dessert.
A multicourse meal or full-course dinner is a meal of multiple courses, almost invariably eaten in the evening or afternoon. Most Western-world multicourse meals follow a standard sequence, influenced by traditional French haute cuisine. Each course is supposed to be designed with a particular size and genre that befits its place in the sequence. There are variations depending on location and custom. The following is a common sequence for multicourse meals:
The meal begins with an hors d'oeuvre or appetizer, a small serving that usually does not include red meat. In Italian custom, antipasto is served, usually finger food that does not contain pasta or any starch.
This may be followed by a variety of dishes, including a possible fish course or other light fare. The number and size of these intermittent courses is entirely dependent on local custom.
Following these is the main course. This is the most important course and is usually the largest.
Next comes the salad course, although salad may often refer to a cooked vegetable, rather than the greens most people associate with the word.
Note that in America since around 1960, the salad course (usually a small, simple green salad lightly dressed) is served at some point before the main course. Sometimes, the salad also accompanies the cheese course.
The meal may carry on with a cheese selection, accompanied by an appropriate selection of wine. In many countries cheeses will be served before the meal, and in the United States often between the main course and dessert, just like in most European countries. In the UK, more typically the cheese course will follow dessert. Nuts are also a popular after-meal selection (thus the saying "from soup to nuts", meaning from beginning to end.
The meal will often culminate with a dessert, either hot or cold, sometimes followed with a final serving of hot or cold fruit and accompanied by a suitable dessert wine.
Meals like this are generally very formal as well as very expensive. In formal dining, a full-course dinner can consist of 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 16 courses, and, in its extreme form, has been known to have 21 courses. In these more formalized dining events, the courses are carefully planned to complement each other gastronomically. The courses are smaller and spread out over a long evening, up to three, four or five hours. They follow conventions of menu planning that have been established over many years. Most courses (excluding some light courses such as sorbets) in the most formal full-course dinners are usually paired with a different wine, beer, liqueur, or other spirit.
In one modern version of service à la russe, courses are brought to the table in sequence. Only empty plates are set in front of each guest and guests make selections from a variety of dishes and fill their own plate. In another, common in restaurants, a filled plate is placed in front of a guest, pre-portioned away from the table. Often the meat is pre-portioned, but diners serve themselves with vegetables and side-dishes. In an American formal dining course, typically each course is served sequentially. Guests are served plates already filled with food in individual portions. Often, guests have an opportunity to choose between vegetarian or meat main course. There is no opportunity to request something different or to ask for more than a single serving.
In service à la française, food is served "family-style", with all courses on the table at the same time. Guests serve themselves so that all dishes are not served at their optimum temperatures. Alternatively, buffet style is a variation of the French service where all food is available at the correct temperature in a serving space other than the dining table. Guests commute to the buffet to be served or sometimes serve themselves and then carry their plates back to the table.
Table settings can be elaborate. More formal settings sometimes include all silverware and glassware that will be needed for the entire meal, and lay out the silverware so that the outermost tools are used for the dishes appearing earliest on the menu. In this scheme, when diners are served the first course, they can depend on finding the correct implement at the outermost edge of the arrangement.
A 13 course place setting includes multiple utensils, receptacles, and vessels. The plate is flanked by a caviar spoon, cocktail fork, escargot fork, bouillon spoon, fish fork and knife, lobster pick, bone marrow spoon, entrée knife and fork, relevé knife and fork, saladé knife and fork. Above the place setting are laid a bread knife (on a knife rest) and plate with personal butter dish, fish bone dish, sorbet spoon, cheese knife, nut pick, and a dessert fork and spoon. To the right of the plate a salt cellar and spoon with pepper is supplied. Glassware includes a water goblet, champagne flute, white wine, red wine, dessert/sherry, and port glasses.
An alternative scheme arranges the place setting so that only the implements needed for the first one or two courses appear in the table setting. As the dinner progresses and new courses arrive, used implements are removed with the dishes, and new silverware is placed next to the plates. This scheme is commonly used when dinners are offered à la carte, so that the most appropriate implement is selected for a given course. For example, some diners may order clear, thin soups and others may order thick, creamy soups. As each of these soups has its own unique spoon, it would be considered improper and impractical to lay out a spoon that may not be needed.
Natural foods and "all-natural foods" are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is often assumed to imply foods that are not processed and whose ingredients are all natural products (in the chemist's sense of that term), thus conveying an appeal to nature. But the lack of standards in most jurisdictions means that the term assures nothing. In some countries, the term "natural" is defined and enforced. In others, such as the United States, it is not enforced.
“Natural foods” are often assumed to be foods that are not processed, or do not contain any food additives, or do not contain particular additives such as hormones, antibiotics, sweeteners, food colors, or flavorings that were not originally in the food.] In fact, many people (63%) when surveyed showed a preference for products labeled "natural" compared to the unmarked counterparts, based on the common belief (86% of polled consumers) that the term "natural" indicated that the food does not contain any artificial ingredients. The terms are variously used and misused on labels and in advertisements.
The international Food and Agriculture Organization’s Codex Alimentarius does not recognize the term “natural” but does have a standard for organic foods.
The idea of eating "natural foods" was promoted by cookbook writers in the United States during the 1970s with cookbooks emphasizing "natural," "health" and "whole" foods in opposition to processed foods which were considered bad for health. In 1971, Eleanor Levitt authored The Wonderful World of Natural Food Cookery which dismissed processed foods such as readymade dinners, cookie mixes, and cold cuts as being full of preservatives and other "chemical poisons."
Jean Hewitt authored the New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook, an influential cookbook on the use of natural foods. Hewitt suggested that before large-scale mechanized farming and modern food production methods, people ate "fresh, natural and unrefined foods for granted" and but have since abandoned this way of eating for highly processed foods which are devoid of flavor and nutrition.
Diet food or dietetic food refers to any food or beverage whose recipe is altered to reduce fat, carbohydrates, abhor/adhore sugar in order to make it part of a weight loss program or diet. Such foods are usually intended to assist in weight loss or a change in body type, although bodybuilding supplements are designed to aid in gaining weight or muscle.
The process of making a diet version of a food usually requires finding an acceptable low-food-energy substitute for some high-food-energy ingredient. This can be as simple as replacing some or all of the food's sugar with a sugar substitute as is common with diet soft drinks such as Coca-Cola (for example Diet Coke). In some snacks, the food may be baked instead of fried thus reducing the food energy. In other cases, low-fat ingredients may be used as replacements.
In whole grain foods, the higher fiber content effectively displaces some of the starch components of the flour. Since certain fibers have no food energy, this results in a modest energy reduction. Another technique relies on the intentional addition of other reduced-food-energy ingredients, such as resistant starch or dietary fiber, to replace part of the flour and achieve a more significant energy reduction.