Such strong differences of opinion about what's delicious and what's disgusting crop up whenever you begin to compare the way different cultures eat. Is Vegemite something you look forward to slathering on your toast in the morning? Or is it a salty, bitter mess that “tastes like someone tried to make food and failed horribly”, as one American child reported? Is beef tripe a savoury street food best eaten over noodles, or inedible rubber, tainted with a whiff of the latrine?
从某种意义上讲，这样的差异并不令人感觉太过意外：我们都是从周围的人那里了解到哪些东西好吃，哪些不宜食用的，而不同地区的分类肯定存在很大的差异。然而，这仍然可以提醒我们，所谓的口味都是相对概念，其中蕴含着许多后天养成的因素。所以，这样的差异无论在什么时候都会令人震惊。 In a sense, these contrasts shouldn't be that surprising: we learn from those around us what's worth eating and what should be avoided, and those categories vary between regions. But somehow, the reminder that taste is so very relative, and so very learned, never fails to shock. 为了对不同文化在口味上的广泛差异定性，营养学家汇总了不同文化所依赖的特定口味——也就是让人产生思乡之情的调料。西红柿、蒜、牛至和橄榄油是意大利的味道，一碟海米配上红辣椒、姜、棕榈油最具巴西风情，德国人最偏爱莳萝、酸奶油、芥末、醋和黑胡椒，而酱油、料酒和大姜则最具中国味。这些味道似乎都描述了一片饮食上的安全区。 In trying to characterise the broad differences between cultures' palates, nutritionists refer to sets of tastes that they rely on – the spices and flavourings that feel like home. The combination of tomato, garlic, oregano, and olive oil feels distinctively Italian, and a dish with dried shrimp, chilli peppers, ginger, and palm oil feels Brazilian. For Germans, it’s dill, sour cream, mustard, vinegar and black pepper. Chinese: soy sauce, rice wine, and ginger. Those tastes seem to describe a safe zone for eating.
一项针对澳大利亚的中国游客进行的饮食偏好调查显示，他们吃中餐以外的食物时往往感到不舒服。“我希望能来点酱油。”一位受访者说，“那样的话，即使不喜欢这些食物，我还是可以往米饭里面放点酱油。”而当使用中餐烹饪方式制作外国食材时，他们的感受便会好转。 Chinese tourists in Australia, surveyed on their meal preferences, remarked that eating non-Chinese food was often unsatisfying. “I hope I can have soy sauce,” remarked one study participant. “Then, even if I can’t stand the food, I can add some soy sauce to go with the rice.” When foreign ingredients were cooked in a Chinese style, they felt better.