Explore other cultures through international cuisine

SIETAR Europa, Europe’s largest association of interculturalists, created an cook book based on contributions from global members. It offers a unique opportunity to experience culinary diversity from different cultures. Visit the SEUCookBook Facebook fanpage and order your copy via the google form.


A recipe for understanding cultural differences in cooking and eating

Due to globalization similar foods can be prepared in distant corners of the world because many ingredients are available thanks to export and import. Local vegetables, fruits and spices, however, mirror the roots of the traditional cuisines. Food that is considered a delicacy in one part of our planet may be perceived as inedible somewhere else. For instance, insects, chicken feet or some sorts of vegetables and spices.


  • 10 tablespoons of curiosity
  • 1/4 cup of good conversations with people from different corners of the world
  • 2 teaspoons of good sense of humour
  • 2 packages of frozen expectations
  • Sweetened memories of childhood’s favourite dishes
  • 1 pinch of courage to change perspectives
  • 7 tablespoons of willingness to experience completely new flavours and unknown table manners
  • Optional for practitioners 1/3 cup of melted cultural iceberg or chopped onions

Methods of food preparation and storage

Hotpot, fondue, tajine, wok, you name it; pots and pans for cooking, preparing and storing food vary throughout the world. The dietary laws in various religions dictate how to prepare food, such as kosher meals in the orthodox Jewish cuisine and halal dishes in various Muslim communities.

Serving and eating traditions

A meal in the Western tradition follows a certain structure. The starter, the soup, the main course and the dessert are served one after another, always in the same order. On the contrary, in India all dishes are served simultaneously and are combined according to the consumer preferences. Similarly, in many Arab countries people may choose what they wish to eat first and how they wish to proceed.

Types of food eaten at different times and on special occasions

Religious beliefs dictate not only the choice of ingredients and abstinence from different sorts of meat but also fasting times. Examples include Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, fasting in the Christian religions and, in the Jewish tradition, fasts before Pessah and Purim and during Jom Kippur and Tischa BeAw. But it´s not only religious traditions which influence dietary habits, climate too has a great impact on eating times, types and quantity of food consumed. In the warm parts of our planet people tend to eat their main meal in the evening when the temperatures drop. On the contrary, most inhabitants of the cold zones are used to having not only more warm meals but also warm drinks several times a day.

Table manners

Some people use cutlery, some chopsticks and most of the earth´s population uses their hands. In the last group, it is often prohibited to use the left hand, which is considered “dirty” in many traditions. Many inhabitants of South-East Asia indicate that they have finished the meal by leaving a little bit of food on the plate. This custom signals just the opposite in Western cultures.

The “intercultural mishmash cuisine”

It is true that cuisines and culinary traditions very throughout the world. It is also true, that relocated people may use their favorite recipes with new, local ingredients or adapt new dishes to fit their own habits and tastes. What is most important for all of us is the gathering around the table to spend time together while eating. For centuries a common meal has been associated with hospitality and willingness to share not only food, but also stories. That is our wish for the dishes prepared according to the recipes collected in this cook book: that they land on a table around which friends may gather.

First Recipe: Kaiserschmarrn (Austrian)

Here’s a preview of a recipe you will find in the cookbook.  Try this Austrian dessert famous because the Austrian emperor Kaiser Josef I liked it so much.

As the legend says the emperor loved eating pancakes for dessert. However, it happened once that his cook failed to prepare them well. They were too thick and too shredded. Trying to save the dish and please the emperor the cook decorated it with raisins and powdered sugar.  The royal household servant saw it and said a nonsense ‘Schmarrn’ to serve this plate to the emperor ‘Kaiser’; Kaiserschmarrn.

Try out this dessert and other delicious recipes from all over the world in the SIETAR Europa Intercultural Cook Book and learn about the traditions behind them. We invite you to turn the page and travel the culinary world with SIETAR Europa! Visit the SEUCookBook Facebook fanpage here and order your copy via the google form.  Let your stomach lead the way as you turn the page!


About SIETAR Europa

SIETAR Europa is Europe’s largest association of interculturalists and is part of the SIETAR Global Connect Network.

SIETAR Europa works to contribute to more effective communication among people of different cultures and backgrounds and enhance intercultural awareness in policy-making, business, education and civil society.

Join exciting congresses and other events to share latest trends and best practice with interculturalists from all over the world.

SIETAR Europa works to:

  • Contribute to more effective communication among people of different cultures and backgrounds
  • Enhance intercultural awareness in policy-making, business, education and civil society
  • Establish an ever-widening network of intercultural specialists
  • Provide multi-disciplinary, professional expertise
  • Contribute to the development of professional standards
  • Encourage publication and promote research
  • Provide opportunities for personal and professional exchanges
  • Hold regional, national and international conferences

 Find out more about your national SIETAR and how to become a member of the SIETAR Global Connect Network on our homepage.

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