Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Obesity
The current food environment includes what people remember to cook. Therefore, the objective of this study was to describe and compare the traditional Chilean culinary preparations that currently exist in memory by geographic area [Metropolitan Region (RM) and La Araucanía (AR)] and by socio-demographic factors (age, ethnicity).
Methods : Pre-existing methods on documenting traditional food systems of indigenous peoples were adapted for this study. Over 2017 and 2018, 10 key informant interviews were conducted by a trained ethnographer/anthropologist. Specifically, five key-informant interviews were conducted per region, one per age (25-45 y, 45-64 y, >65 y) or ethnic group (first nations or not). In each interview, the key informant cooked a traditional recipe and completed a free-list exercise of traditional culinary preparations, with little prompting. All culinary preparations free-listed by each informant were coded thematically by key ingredients and mealtime; and subsequently grouped into 67 unique larger food categories, according to its main ingredients (e.g. beans) or food type (e.g. beverages). ATLAS.ti v. 8.3.1 and STATA v.15.0 were used to conduct the study analyses.
Results : The traditional dishes cooked by the key informants varied by region and age group. More unique traditional culinary preparations were identified in AR (n = 351) than in RM (n = 220); and the specific preparations listed varied by region. When the preparations were grouped into larger food categories, vegetables and breads were the most prevalent categories, across regions, age and ethnic groups. Sandwiches, soups/stews with meat, and beans were the other frequent food categories in the RM. While in AR, these were sweets/jams, soups/stews without meat, and potatoes. Frequent food categories also varied by age group (e.g. alcoholic beverages for those 25-45 y compared to soups/stews for those >65 y), but not by ethnic group.
Conclusions : Traditional culinary preparations still exist in the memory of Chileans in two distinct regions. The finding that vegetable-based traditional preparations make up the greatest prevalence of recalled dishes is important for understanding the current food environment to design healthy and sustainable diet interventions.
Funding Sources : CONICYT-FONDECYT Initiation Project