Mediterranean cuisine is the foods and methods of preparation by people of the Mediterranean Basin region. The idea of a Mediterranean cuisine originates with the cookery writer Elizabeth David's book, A Book of Mediterranean Food (1950), though she wrote mainly about French cuisine.
She and other writers including the Tunisian historian Mohamed Yassine Essid define the three core elements of the cuisine as the olive, wheat, and the grape, yielding olive oil, bread and pasta, and wine; other writers emphasize the diversity of the region's foods and deny that it is a useful concept.
The geographical area covered broadly follows the distribution of the olive tree, as noted by David and Essid.
A diet traditionally followed in Greece, Crete, southern France, and parts of Italy that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, olive oil (as opposed to butter) and grilled or steamed chicken and seafood (as opposed to red meat). Plus a glass or two of red wine.
To be exact, there is not merely one Mediterranean diet. What is eaten varies significantly from one Mediterranean country to another. There also are major differences in diet between some regions within a country, as in Italy. However, the shared features of what is usually spoken of as the Mediterranean-style diet are as follows:
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