Cuisine is any food or drink that is prepared in a thoughtful, creative and culturally significant way. Cuisine is distinguished from regular "food" as being in some way conscious of the traditions, customs and character of its provenance. Whereas frozen hotdogs from the supermarket could only be referred to as cuisine sarcastically, a street vendor may well produce cuisine so long as they imbue their offerings with some degree of artfulness, thoughtfulness and a sense of heritage.
Cuisine is one of the most basic and ancient ways in which humans have expressed, codified and exported culture since different peoples first began encountering one another via trade routes. In the beginning of international commerce, different groups of traders would bring with them the ingredients, preparation techniques and eating customs of their homeland, thereby exporting cuisine through their dealings with other travelers from foreign lands.
Cuisine necessarily expresses locality. This is due to the fact that cooks have ever drawn from regionally available vegetables, animals, spices, nuts, plants, berries and roots in preparing dishes that become iconic and enduring through their palatability. Therefore, in sharing a regional dish with someone from another culture, one cannot help but reveal certain attitudes, aspects and exigencies of their cuisine's origin.
Today, the global vorcacity for international cuisine only continues to expand and accelerate. America's trademark "melting-pot" characterization holds as true for cuisine as it does for people. In almost every major city across the country, one can find, with relative ease, restaurants specializing in authentic African, Middle-Eastern, Asian and European cuisine. Likewise, Western tastes and food fads are continually exported to Asian, Middle-Easten and African countries where they are consumed and perpetuated with great aplomb. The manner in which cuisine is communally produced and enjoyed, as well as the traditions of togetherness, relaxation and self-respect they represent cross-culturally, explain why sharing cuisine with guests is one of the universal customs retained by various peoples throughout the world.
The culinary artists responsible for fashioning cuisine work simultaneously to arouse and satisfy the visual, olfactory, tactile and gustatory senses with one inegrated and nourishing creation. Their art is further elevated by the fact that cuisine can heal the body, invoke the memory and comfort the mind.