is any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats,
water and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal for
nutrition or pleasure. Items considered food may be sourced from
plants, animals or other categories such as fungus or fermented
products like alcohol.
Although many human cultures sought
food items through hunting and gathering, today most cultures use
farming, ranching, and fishing, with hunting, foraging and other
methods of a local nature included but playing a minor role.
Most traditions have a recognizable
cuisine, a specific set of cooking traditions, preferences, and
practices, the study of which is known as gastronomy. Many cultures
have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking
methods and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade
which helps the cultures to economically survive by-way-of food, not
just by consumption.
Many cultures study the dietary
analysis of food habits. While humans are omnivores, religion and
social constructs such as morality often affect which foods they
will consume. Food safety is also a concern with foodborne illness
claiming many lives each year. In many languages, food is often used
metaphorically or figuratively, as in "food for thought".
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