An International Holiday Feast (and The Science Behind It)
December 21, 2017
Click on the foods in the interactive table below to learn about “12 holiday dishes” around the world and how plant science helps make them available:
Celebrate the holidays with Plant Science!
Click on the foods in the interactive table below to find out more about the 12 foods of Christmas!
Christmas damper on the barbie
Soda bread in the shape of a wreath made from wheat flour and baked on the barbeque. Australia is a major producer of grains like wheat and relies on crop protection products to control insects and mites.
Bacalhoada ao forno
Oven-roasted salt cod with potatoes and garlic. Potatoes were domesticated in South America 7,000-10,000 years ago and thanks to plant science, they have evolved tremendously to resist bruising and browning as well as produce less of an undesirable compound (acrylamide) when cooked.
Bûche de Noël
Flourless chocolate cake in the shape of a “yule log” rolled with chocolate whipped cream. Around 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa. Farmers there rely on crop protection products to ward off insects and diseases because these pests can damage 30-40 percent of the crop.
Fufu and okra soup
Usually made with cassava flour, fufu resembles sticky rice that’s formed into balls for the okra soup. A staple food for 200 million people in Africa, plant scientists are currently working on drought-tolerant cassava to cope with climate change.
Biryani with chicken and lamb or vegetables
Spiced rice-based dish made with meat or veggies. The use of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides in India has increased rice production by about 30 percent in recent years.
A rock candy that looks like coal given to “bad kids”. Most sugar in Italy comes from sugar beet as the European Union is the world’s top beet producer. In the U.K. alone, fungicides have dramatically helped with sugar beet production. Plant scientists are working on nitrogen use efficiency in the crop as well.
Romeritos in Mole
A leafy, wild Mexican herb that resembles rosemary is prepared with mole – a chili pepper-based, aromatic sauce. Chili peppers are Mexico’s most important vegetable crop and farmers need pesticides to protect peppers from 19 pests.
A dessert made of sweet rice cooked in hollow bamboo tubes that’s spread with butter, sugar and grated coconut. Herbicides have significantly helped Filipino farmers control weeds in rice. Biotechnology led to the development of beta carotene-enhanced “Golden Rice,” which is in field trials in the Philippines.
Fried carp and pea soup
Pea and other crop yields in Poland have increased significantly due to access to and usage of pesticides as a result of joining the European Union. EU membership hugely boosted Poland’s agricultural sector financially.
Apple-based pie made with dried fruit and warm spices. Pesticides are so important to the dessert apple industry in the U.K. that without them, it is unlikely any saleable crop would be obtained.