Steppe Foodways and History

In: Asian Medicine
Paul D. Buell
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Peoples of central Asia have long been a world apart with their own unique way of life and foodways. These have been based primarily upon carefully harboured dairy products, supplemented by occasional meat and whatever else could be obtained from the environment without limiting pastoralism. The paper describes these foodways and the changes that they have undergone over the centuries in response to contacts with the outside world, conquest, and empire. Focus is on the Mongols, whose world empire gave rise to a world cuisine, and Turkic groups such as the Kazakhs. The paper concludes that, due to globalisation and the destruction of traditional pastoralism, steppe foodways are now in rapid decline. The social base that has supported them for centuries has now been all but destroyed.

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