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As an “Abundant Life Coach” I get asked about the meaning of “financial abundance” very often. What this means to you can be the difference between living the lifestyle of your dreams, or settling for something less than your dreams. I want you to live the life of your dreams!

Here, then, are 5 Essential Factors of Financial Abundance:

“The Abundant Mindset”

Thousands upon thousands of books, articles, media, programs, and so much more have been produced that discuss the awesome power of our minds, and the influence of our thinking upon our lives. It is difficult to say enough or emphasize enough that truth. As I see it, we are exactly as we think.

In my work, I recommend the adoption of an “Abundant” mindset. This means so much more than finance or money, however, for the purposes of this article, I will discuss abundance only as it applies to the world of money and finance.

A financial abundance mindset means enjoying an abundant amount of money, and yet not allowing greed. Greed does not work (sorry, Gordon Gekko). Of course “financial abundance” will be a relative concept; it will probably mean something different to each person. Greed, however, is fairly obvious; it is almost like knowing (within your mid or heart) the difference between right and wrong.

Further, a financial abundance mindset means having the monetary means or resources to enjoy an abundant lifestyle, yet balancing your financial wealth with philanthropy and generous giving (see point 4). When one’s personal motives are clearly defined and one’s goals are aligned with those motives, then financial abundance becomes clear.

“Specialized Knowledge”

The largest difference between the rich and poor (or the “haves” and “have-nots”) is knowledge. Or, more specifically, the largest difference is a specialized knowledge; meaning that they have the “right” knowledge and also know how to use that knowledge to their advantage. In other words, specialized knowledge is the information or data itself, coupled with the wisdom to know how to use the information or data.

For many, specialized knowledge is an academic education such as medical or law school, while for others this might mean computer programming, aviation repair, or something. Further, many of those with a financial education know how to leverage their own money to make more money. Obviously the point is that specialized knowledge translates to earning ability.

“The Power of Compounding Interest and Investing”

For many people, diligent savings and investment of a consistent percentage of income over considerable lengths of time has lead to financial abundance. I would certainly add that economic factors always play a significant role with regard to risk in investments. Even so, living well within one’s means while investing and saving can very often lead to financial abundance.

“Generous Giving”

Generosity does not necessarily mean giving away or donating money. Mr. Zig Ziglar has said: “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

This is so very true. It must be an unwritten law of nature that over time, our generosity is paid back several times over. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and yet employing an attitude of generosity is always a safe bet for a great return. And, if nothing else, it is an illustration of excellence of character.

“What You Love Over Time”

We should seek ways to turn what we love to do into a good living. I am a firm believer that when we do what we love doing, money very often comes as a byproduct, because our focus is not so much on making money as it is on enjoyment and lifestyle. Over time, money tends to take care of itself in large part when we are doing what we enjoy, especially when it helps others.

In conclusion, the very first point – having an abundant mindset – sums up all of the points I have made in this article. When we do what we love to do; when we are generous and seek to help others; when we live within our means and save money; when we always seek a more specialized knowledge…we then have an abundant mindset, and are bound to realize financial abundance.

Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking, when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework.

Today’s families are different. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were what held families together. Juggling work, home and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient. Entertainment technology (TV, internet, videogames, iPods) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles. A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study showed that elementary aged children use on average 8 hours per day of entertainment technology, 75% of these children have TV’s in their bedrooms, and 50% of North American homes have the TV on all day. Add emails, cell phones, internet surfing, and chat lines, and we begin to see the pervasive aspects of technology on our home lives and family milieu. Gone is dining room table conversation, replaced by the “big screen” and take out. Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Sedentary bodies bombarded with chaotic sensory stimulation, are resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy. Hard wired for high speed, today’s young are entering school struggling with self regulation and attention skills necessary for learning, eventually becoming significant behavior management problems for teachers in the classroom.

So what is the impact of technology on the developing child? Children’s developing sensory and motor systems have biologically not evolved to accommodate this sedentary, yet frenzied and chaotic nature of today’s technology. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behavior disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect, much less understand. Child obesity and diabetes are now national epidemics in both Canada and the US. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders can be causally linked to technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. An urgent closer look at the critical factors for meeting developmental milestones, and the subsequent impact of technology on those factors, would assist parents, teachers and health professionals to better understand the complexities of this issue, and help create effective strategies to reduce technology use. The three critical factors for healthy physical and psychological child development are movement, touch and connection to other humans. Movement, touch and connection are forms of essential sensory input that are integral for the eventual development of a child’s motor and attachment systems. When movement, touch and connection are deprived, devastating consequences occur.

Young children require 3-4 hours per day of active rough and tumble play to achieve adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems for normal development. The critical period for attachment development is 0-7 months, where the infant-parent bond is best facilitated by close contact with the primary parent, and lots of eye contact. These types of sensory inputs ensure normal development of posture, bilateral coordination, optimal arousal states and self regulation necessary for achieving foundation skills for eventual school entry. Infants with low tone, toddlers failing to reach motor milestones, and children who are unable to pay attention or achieve basic foundation skills for literacy, are frequent visitors to pediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy clinics. The use of safety restraint devices such as infant bucket seats and toddler carrying packs and strollers, have further limited movement, touch and connection, as have TV and videogame overuse. Many of today’s parents perceive outdoor play is ‘unsafe’, further limiting essential developmental components usually attained in outdoor rough and tumble play. Dr. Ashley Montagu, who has extensively studied the developing tactile sensory system, reports that when infants are deprived of human connection and touch, they fail to thrive and many eventually die. Dr. Montagu states that touch deprived infants develop into toddlers who exhibit excessive agitation and anxiety, and may become depressed by early childhood.

As children are connecting more and more to technology, society is seeing a disconnect from themselves, others and nature. As little children develop and form their identities, they often are incapable of discerning whether they are the “killing machine” seen on TV and in videogames, or just a shy and lonely little kid in need of a friend. TV and videogame addiction is causing an irreversible worldwide epidemic of mental and physical health disorders, yet we all find excuses to continue. Where 100 years ago we needed to move to survive, we are now under the assumption we need technology to survive. The catch is that technology is killing what we love the most…connection with other human beings. The critical period for attachment formation is 0 – 7 months of age. Attachment or connection is the formation of a primary bond between the developing infant and parent, and is integral to that developing child’s sense of security and safety. Healthy attachment formation results in a happy and calm child. Disruption or neglect of primary attachment results in an anxious and agitated child. Family over use of technology is gravely affecting not only early attachment formation, but also impacting negatively on child psychological and behavioral health.

Further analysis of the impact of technology on the developing child indicates that while the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and attachment systems are under stimulated, the visual and auditory sensory systems are in “overload”. This sensory imbalance creates huge problems in overall neurological development, as the brain’s anatomy, chemistry and pathways become permanently altered and impaired. Young children who are exposed to violence through TV and videogames are in a high state of adrenalin and stress, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. Children who overuse technology report persistent body sensations of overall “shaking”, increased breathing and heart rate, and a general state of “unease”. This can best be described as a persistent hypervigalent sensory system, still “on alert” for the oncoming assault from videogame characters. While the long term effects of this chronic state of stress in the developing child are unknown, we do know that chronic stress in adults results in a weakened immune system and a variety of serious diseases and disorders. Prolonged visual fixation on a fixed distance, two dimensional screen grossly limits ocular development necessary for eventual printing and reading. Consider the difference between visual location on a variety of different shaped and sized objects in the near and far distance (such as practiced in outdoor play), as opposed to looking at a fixed distance glowing screen. This rapid intensity, frequency and duration of visual and auditory stimulation results in a “hard wiring” of the child’s sensory system for high speed, with subsequent devastating effects on a child’s ability to imagine, attend and focus on academic tasks. Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that each hour of TV watched daily between the ages of 0 and 7 years equated to a 10% increase in attention problems by age seven years.

In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending that children less than two years of age should not use any technology, yet toddlers 0 to 2 years of age average 2.2 hours of TV per day. The Academy further recommended that children older than two should restrict usage to one hour per day if they have any physical, psychological or behavioral problems, and two hours per day maximum if they don’t, yet parents of elementary children are allowing 8 hours per day. France has gone so far as to eliminate all “baby TV” due to the detrimental effects on child development. How can parents continue to live in a world where they know what is bad for their children, yet do nothing to help them? It appears that today’s families have been pulled into the “Virtual Reality Dream”, where everyone believes that life is something that requires an escape. The immediate gratification received from ongoing use of TV, videogame and internet technology, has replaced the desire for human connection.

It’s important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society “wake up” and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child’s physical, psychological and behavioral health, but also on their ability to learn and sustain personal and family relationships. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with exercise and family time, will work toward sustaining our children, as well as saving our world. While no one can argue the benefits of advanced technology in today’s world, connection to these devices may have resulted in a disconnection from what society should value most, children. Rather than hugging, playing, rough housing, and conversing with children, parents are increasingly resorting to providing their children with more videogames, TV’s in the car, and the latest iPods and cell phone devices, creating a deep and widening chasm between parent and child.

Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert has developed a concept termed ‘Balanced Technology Management’ (BTM) where parents manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use. Rowan’s company Zone’in Programs Inc. http://www.zonein.ca has developed a ‘System of Solutions’ for addressing technology overuse in children through the creation of Zone’in Products, Workshops, Training and Consultation services.

It is always interesting to study the history of weddings of different cultures. One can find that some of the old traditions have been carried forward to the current weddings.

In Italy, to this day marriages are not performed during Lent and Advent in May or August. Sunday was declared the best day for the marriage and June was (and is) considered the ideal month to marry. This is based on the Roman goddess Junio, representing safety of home, marriage, and childbirth.

In some families the marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom. A male relative of the groom would visit with the father of the intended bride and ask for her hand in marriage. Sometimes a matchmaker was used to carry a message to the intended bride’s family. Once an agreement between the families was reached, the couple was declared engaged. The prospective bride was expected to immediately start gathering clothing (even for her future husband), furniture, and other items for the home. This became known as the bride’s ‘trousseau’. If the engagement ring contained gold it was not to be worn until she received the gold wedding band as it was seen as bad luck to wear gold without being married.

In olden times a great deal of the Italian wedding traditions consisted of warding off evil spirits. The groom would be sure to have something iron on his person to ward off the evil eye. The wedding veil was for the purpose of warding off evil spirits they may try to attack the bride and tearing the veil after the ceremony was considered good luck. The bride was not to have a complete bridal gown until the wedding day. It was to remain incomplete until she walked down the church aisle. Presumably a final stitch was made somewhere on the dress at the entrance of the church. The groom would wait at the front of the church and present the bride with a bouquet of flowers and herbs, to ward off the evil spirits.

At other times the groom would pick the bride up and walk her to the church. In this case a log and a saw would be placed in their path and they had to saw it into two pieces to show their union. If the bride walked to the church, without the groom, the local people often put things in her path such as a broom, beggar, crying baby. How she handled these items showed if she would be a good wife, mother, would be kind, etc.

In the ceremony the groom stood to the right of the bride, thus freeing his sword hand, just in case someone tried to steal his bride. Ten witnesses were required to make the ceremony official; hence the need for a large bridal party. They were dressed like the bride and groom to confuse the jealous spirits. The bride carried (and still does in most weddings) a silk or satin purse for guests to deposit their money gifts in as a way to help with the expenses. Another way money was raised was by the best man cutting the groom’s tie into pieces and selling them to guests at the wedding.

Following the ceremony the bride and groom were pelted with almonds (in mesh bags), three for children and five to seven to promote fertility. In ancient times a loaf of bread was broken over the bride’s head to represent fertility. At the end of the wedding the bride and groom broke a vase or glass into pieces with the number of shards representing how many years they would be married. Mothers-in-law sat at a table and kept a record of the repayment of favors or money which needed to be witnessed (this is still done in some of today’s ceremonies)

Most of the ceremonies started with mass in the early morning, followed by music and dancing throughout the night. Food was, and is, a large part of the wedding. Thirteen or more courses were ordinarily served (a large meal is still served at today’s weddings); this represented the union of the couple and their families.

It’s amazing how many wedding traditions still remain even though they may have evolved somewhat to reflect today’s society. Incorporating traditions based on heritage is often a good way to honor the old while celebrating the new.

Filipino music and art have both been influenced by the cultures that have migrated to this nation. The first type of music that developed in the Philippines was indigenous music brought here by native tribes that migrated from Taiwan. There are three basic groups of indigenous music styles: southern styles, northern styles and other styles. The southern style of music usually involves five different instruments including the kulintang, the agung, the gangdinagan, the dabakan and the babedil. The northern styles of indigenous music reflect Asian gong music. Their music usually features the unbossed gong called the Gangsa. In addition to the instruments used by southern and northern music styles, other instruments used in the Philippines include log drums, flutes, bamboo zithers and the Kudyapi.

Hispanic cultures from Spain and Mexico have greatly influenced the development of Filipino music. These cultures have introduced musical forms like the Harana the Kundiman and Rondalla. Most of these music forms developed as a result of the fusion between tribal music styles and traditional Spanish and Mexican music. Today the influence of Spain and Mexico is still present in modern Filipino music. Modern popular music in the Philippines still has a Hispanic flavor.

Filipino Art has its roots in indigenous traditions and colonial imports. Like most cultures, the Philippines have their own style of plastic arts like sculpture and painting. However, they also have their own style of movement arts like dancing. Some of the most notable artists from the Philippines include Fernando Amorsolo, David Cortes Medalla, Nunelucio Alvardao, Juan Luna, Felix Hidalgo and Rey Paz Contreras.

Learning the Basics When you attend vegetarian culinary schools, you learn about the basics of cooking a vegetarian meal. You will learn about making the food look appealing. You learn how to prepare some of the fancier vegan foods. The schools operate in a kitchen and a classroom. You spend all your time learning how to become the best chef. You will learn about the different seasonings and spices as well as how to use them with different vegetables.

The vegetarian culinary schools only select so many people. You cannot just enter the culinary schools vegetarian classes if you have had no prior cooking experience in most cases. Most schools require some basic knowledge of cooking even if it is not strictly vegetarian style. The vegan chef school is a great way to take a step up in some of the fancier dinning establishments. It is possible to work in a high-class country club or even for a government catering organization.

Once you start the class, you will see how easy it is to make a vegetarian meal and make it so tasty that no one will care if it is a vegetarian meal. This is quite important if you want to be a chef. You have to learn how to garnish the food to make it look appealing. Color is another part of learning. Culinary schools, vegetarian schools included teach you how to garnish with color to entice the palate. You learn everything you need to make so many different foods.

Graduating from Vegan Chef School Once you complete your degree, you will be able to find work almost anywhere a chef is needed. Many clubs and restaurants look for chefs right out of school because they are fresh and have some skills that some of the older chefs may not have. Vegetarian chef schools will guide you on how to approach the establishments and what is expected of you as a resume. You will not submit a paper resume, but you will make a scrumptious meal as your test before being considered for a position.

When you attend vegetarian culinary schools [http://www.vegetarian-culinary-schools.com/vegetarian-culinary-schools.html], you will learn so much about cooking with different types of foods. You will learn how to make a vegetarian lasagna that no one will ever guess is just a vegan dish. You will take pride in your work and know just how to make the perfect dinner or even a breakfast for anyone that enjoys the delights of vegetarian foods and even those that do not, will be delighted.

 

Many people get confused about the role of advertising in the marketing mix so here’s a simple view of where it fits in.

In the traditional marketing model, we talk about the 4 P’s

o Product

o Pricing

o Place

o Promotion

The last section – Promotion is what we mean when we say you are “doing your marketing”. It’s your communications or your actual marketing activities.

But first, let’s get clear about the PURPOSE of marketing and why you want to get good at it.

“The PURPOSE of marketing or it’s biggest task is to

persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you

can present your offer. Done well they come waving their

credit card and ready to buy so there’s no need for hard sell.”

Whenever and wherever you get in front of your potential market is your marketing opportunity – you are communicating or getting your message across.

You could say this started as far back as Babylon when the Town Crier was the only delivery method! They went around town shouting out to people to go to the marketplace and you went to the marketplace with your goods to “present your offer”.

With the invention of print and other technologies you now have a smorgasbord of delivery methods or media to reach people such as

o Print – newspapers, magazines, catalogues, newsletters

o Phone, mail, fax

o Radio & TV,

o Internet – through websites, blogs, social networking sites, email, video & Audio podcasts

o Teleseminars & webinars

o Mobile media – Blackberrys and mobile or cell phones

o And lets not forget in person public speaking and networking

Now that range adds a level of complexity. But choice is good and you don’t have to use all of these but they are available to you.

In any event you’ll either be speaking or writing. Simply narrow down what makes sense for you and your business and use your strengths to work out a plan.

JUST remember the marketing principles remain the same no matter the medium – so the PURPOSE of your marketing is still the same. To persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you can present your offer.

So where does advertising fit into this?

Advertising is simply a subset of your marketing activities it’s the SALES function when you make the sales pitch or “present your offer”. This could be verbal or written in all the same media you use for your marketing communications. What adds to the confusion is sometimes big companies use image based ads for awareness so the “sales pitch” isn’t obvious.

But the primary purpose of advertising is to SELL.

So you create ads in one form or another and get them in front of your audience.

Small businesses can’t afford to waste money on image advertising that is designed for the masses to promote a well known brand. It simply isn’t designed to sell, NOW.

What I do and recommend is Direct Marketing which is based on one-on-one relationships and uses proven direct response advertising techniques instead of mass advertising.

The purpose of a direct response advertisement is to get a response, NOW! Which means these ads actually ask the prospect to DO something.

Whether you’re building a list, selling a product or service, an appointment or even something you are giving away – you still need to “sell” it to your prospect. And ask them to take the action you want them to take to move them through the sales process.

In a nutshell, advertising is a subset of marketing and direct response marketing and advertising is the champion for small business.

 

The advancement in technology has certainly had a major effect on the lives of many. This world is becoming a global village and distances no longer a problem. Communications and mass information is just a few clicks away; thanks to the computer related technology, more specifically the utility of internet, which is a part of the information technology.

Social networking websites and chat related applications are now presenting quite a number of advantages to the users. They reduce distances between the users and help them connect with relatives and friends from all over the world. The aim of any social networking site is to make the application and utility user friendly.

With the technological changes and new developments occurring every day, internet users no longer have to face the problems online that they had to face lately due to technical glitches, which resulted in frustration. Now the users no longer have to rummage through heaps of messages to access a particular conversation or read at hyperactive speeds just to keep in touch with the discussion on hand. The systems have become more streamlined and responsive and thus more convenient to the users.

This constant and rapid change in web technology has opened many windows of opportunity for both the users and the developers. The users now have more options to switch to and the developers have to work to develop newer, better, efficient and easy to use portals.

In its early days, E-commerce existed simply as a form of facilitation for commercial and financial transactions. It is one of the few things that have changed with the passage of time. This historic turning of e-commerce occurred about three decades ago.

Technologies such as electronic data exchange and electronic funds transfer have been introduced and they had a revolutionary effect because these allowed the businesses to communicate the commercial documents such as the basics of purchase orders and invoices via electronic network systems securely. The growth of telephonic banking services, credit card transactions and automated teller machines has added a new dimension to e-commerce. There are still innumerable aspects of business and other related issues that are growing as per the users need and the information technology is providing a highly efficient and secure platform to them.

Electronic payment systems have become the engine for almost all online transactions. The major electronic payment systems that govern current online transactions are credit card processing systems and electronic payment gateways. The electronic payment gateways are the companies that facilitate financial transactions online by authenticating credit cards and online bank accounts authorizing certain transactions. They basically form the virtual connectivity between merchant’s website and the credit card companies; this sure reduces the hassle of long bank queues and offer purchasing options when ever and where ever any one pleases to have these while utilizing the splendors of computer technology.

The information technology has come a long way and is ever evolving. It has truly made the world a global village.

The Ndebele wedding is celebrated in three stages, this can take several years. The first stage is Labola for the bride; this is paid in instalments of both money and livestock. The second stage is a two-week sequestration of the bride during which time other women teach the bride how to be a good wife and the third stage is completed when the bride has her first child.

The groom to be sends a letter to the bride’s family to request a date for the Labola negotiation. He then has to purchase a sheep; some blankets, a broom and a few clothes for the girl’s family. The grooms parents then visit the brides parents and pay the Labola, after this they take the girl to the boys family to get to know him and his family.

Preparation for the wedding day will include writing up a guest list and sending out of the invitations, this happen two weeks before the wedding day. Food is bought and cooked the traditional way this will include ‘mielie pap’ (traditional maize meal) meat and salads, fruit, sweets and cake are served as dessert on the day.

The official ceremony will take place in a church, family members will be present for this so that they can witness the couple saying their wedding vows and the placing of rings on each others fingers. After the church ceremony the couple will change into traditional clothes and go with the guests to the girls home to eat. After they have finished to eat the couple will sit at a table, which has been especially decorated for them. Everyone present will talk to the couple and give them gifts.

The groom will then thank the guests where after they will go to his home. The oldest boy in the family will be there together with all the parents and grand-parents to give the girl an Ndebele name.

 

Nowadays, there are many different means of travelling which include airplane or ships or trains or buses etc. you can choose your medium by keeping in view your interest, your priorities and of course your budget. Lets have some general over view of different means of travelling.

AIR: Air travel is the most recent means of moving from one place to another. Since its first usage, it has become so popular due to its many advantages that it is now the most used mean of travel by people for long routes. It is taken as an expensive choice although there are many air lines that are offering air flights quite cheaply but over all it is an expensive but most quick mean of moving from one place to another.

SEA: Sea is one of the oldest means of travelling. Ships were used for roaming even by Greeks and Egyptians. It remained the main source of travelling for quite a long time but after the invention of aero planes, it has somehow lost its place. Nowadays moving from one place to another by sea is rarely done and even when done it is mostly through large ships which are built for luxurious cruising for the more privileged people. Middle and lower class people can’t really enjoy in those huge and luxurious vessels.

TRAIN: Moving from one city to another by means of train is considered as the most reliable and affordable mean of travelling. Trains now for long have remained a top priority of people for travelling. Travelling by train has all the ingredients that it takes for a perfect travel as it is quick and reliable and cheap mean of travelling.

While some of the most popular dishes associated with the Italian culture include a tempting slice of pizza and a heaping plate of pasta, there is much more to the world of Italian cooking. Throughout the many regions in Italy, the distinctive cuisine of the Italians shines through in a wide-range of eating habits, styles of cooking, and selection of local ingredients. The changing of the times has also influenced Italian food, as the meals served in the pre-Roman era possess both similarities and differences in the cuisine of today.

The culinary history of Italy established a reputation more than 2,000 years ago, which includes an illustrious movement during the Roman Empire. Culturally, food preparation was quite important in the past where flashes of significance have been captured in the only surviving cookbook (Apicius), which dates back to the first century BC.

The spread of Italian food diversity began after the fall of the Roman Empire when individual city states began to uphold separate identities and traditions. Each region began to display its own unique way of cooking, right down to the formation of a meatball to the characteristic cheeses and wine produced in a locale. The north developed Tuscan beef, while black truffles were very popular in Marches. Provolone and mozzarella cheeses developed in the south, as well as a host of interesting citrus fruits.

Diverse types of bread, variations in pasta, and varying food preparation techniques also differed according to region. The southern regions of Italy embrace hard-boiled spaghetti, while the north often prefers a soft egg noodle. Milan is known for their risotto, while Bologna has a deep history regarding tortellini, and Naples is famous for their pizzas.

Over the years, Italian cuisine has greatly evolved in part because of a wealth of outside influences that have added to its characteristic flavor and appeal. In the beginning, ancient Greek cookery became an integrated part of Italian cuisine. Eventually, a wealth of imports found their way into the kitchens of early Italians, who sent Roman ships to collect a variety of important foods, including wheat, wine, exotic ingredients, and fine spices from around the world. Some ships even traveled to faraway locations, such as China, to bring back edible resources that catapulted the depth and variety of Italian cooking styles.

Coastal regions are known for their developments in delicious fish and seafood dishes. For example, the island of Sardinia supplies a more traditional and simple style of cuisine, which often incorporated delicacies, associated with the sea. Swordfish, lobster, anchovies, sardines, and other Mediterranean treats represent Italian cooking of the area. In Sicily (another island region), a great deal of the cooking drew heavily from North African influences. An Arab influence also affected cuisine on the island and within the rest of the south, especially with the introduction of various spices and sweets, such as the Sicilian ice cream cake called cassata.

As for one of the most popular Italian dishes, while the history books often state that pasta was a product of the Chinese brought back by Venetian merchant, Marco Polo, it was actually a rediscovery of a food item eaten during Etruscan and Roman times. It is believed that the first pasta in Italy was made similar to the noodles of today – from the same durum wheat – which was cooked in ovens instead of boiled in water.

Today, the differences in Italian cooking still show through in the distinctions between the north and the south. Each region still carries their own traditions in cooking that reflects deep history and culture with a never ending supply of main courses, appetizers, and desserts that continuously tempts the taste buds.

Source by C. Steendahl