Many cultures hold some food preferences and some food taboos. Dietary choices can also define cultures and play a role in religion. For example, only kosher foods are permitted by Judaism, halal foods by Islam, and in Hinduism beef is restricted.[148] In addition, the dietary choices of different countries or regions have different characteristics. This is highly related to a culture's cuisine.
Wine has been produced for thousands of years. The earliest known traces of wine are from Georgia (c. 6000 BC),[2][3][4][5] Iran (c. 5000 BC),[6][7] and Sicily (c. 4000 BC)[8] although there is evidence of a similar alcoholic drink being consumed earlier in China (c. 7000 BC).[9][10][11] The earliest known winery is the 6,100-year-old Areni-1 winery in Armenia.[12][13] Wine reached the Balkans by 4500 BC and was consumed and celebrated in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. Throughout history, wine has been consumed for its intoxicating effects.[14][15][16]
An emulsion of starch with fat or water can, when gently heated, provide thickening to the dish being cooked. In European cooking, a mixture of butter and flour called a roux is used to thicken liquids to make stews or sauces.[15] In Asian cooking, a similar effect is obtained from a mixture of rice or corn starch and water. These techniques rely on the properties of starches to create simpler mucilaginous saccharides during cooking, which causes the familiar thickening of sauces. This thickening will break down, however, under additional heat.

Other drinks called "wine", such as barley wine and rice wine (e.g. sake), are made from starch-based materials and resemble beer more than traditional wine, while ginger wine is fortified with brandy. In these latter cases, the term "wine" refers to the similarity in alcohol content rather than to the production process.[67] The commercial use of the English word "wine" (and its equivalent in other languages) is protected by law in many jurisdictions.[68]
^ Griswold, Max G.; Fullman, Nancy; Hawley, Caitlin; Arian, Nicholas; Zimsen, Stephanie R M.; Tymeson, Hayley D.; Venkateswaran, Vidhya; Tapp, Austin Douglas; Forouzanfar, Mohammad H.; Salama, Joseph S.; Abate, Kalkidan Hassen; Abate, Degu; Abay, Solomon M.; Abbafati, Cristiana; Abdulkader, Rizwan Suliankatchi; Abebe, Zegeye; Aboyans, Victor; Abrar, Mohammed Mehdi; Acharya, Pawan; Adetokunboh, Olatunji O.; Adhikari, Tara Ballav; Adsuar, Jose C.; Afarideh, Mohsen; Agardh, Emilie Elisabet; Agarwal, Gina; Aghayan, Sargis Aghasi; Agrawal, Sutapa; Ahmed, Muktar Beshir; Akibu, Mohammed; et al. (August 2018). "Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016". Lancet. 392 (10152): 1015–1035. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31310-2. PMC 6148333. PMID 30146330.
Several organisations have begun calling for a new kind of agriculture in which agroecosystems provide food but also support vital ecosystem services so that soil fertility and biodiversity are maintained rather than compromised. According to the International Water Management Institute and UNEP, well-managed agroecosystems not only provide food, fiber and animal products, they also provide services such as flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, erosion control and habitats for plants, birds, fish and other animals.[70]
Phylogenetic analysis suggests that human ancestors may have invented cooking as far back as 1.8 million to 2.3 million years ago.[3] Re-analysis of burnt bone fragments and plant ashes from the Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa, has provided evidence supporting control of fire by early humans there by 1 million years ago.[4] There is evidence that Homo erectus was cooking their food as early as 500,000 years ago.[5] Evidence for the controlled use of fire by Homo erectus beginning some 400,000 years ago has wide scholarly support.[6][7] Archaeological evidence from 300,000 years ago,[8] in the form of ancient hearths, earth ovens, burnt animal bones, and flint, are found across Europe and the Middle East. Anthropologists think that widespread cooking fires began about 250,000 years ago, when hearths started appearing.[9]
^ Fraga, Helder; Malheiro, Aureliano C.; Moutinho-Pereira, José; Cardoso, Rita M.; Soares, Pedro M. M.; Cancela, Javier J.; Pinto, Joaquim G.; Santos, João A.; et al. (24 September 2014). "Integrated Analysis of Climate, Soil, Topography and Vegetative Growth in Iberian Viticultural Regions". PLoS ONE. 9 (9): e108078. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108078. PMC 4176712. PMID 25251495.

Types of fat include vegetable oils, animal products such as butter and lard, as well as fats from grains, including maize and flax oils. Fats are used in a number of ways in cooking and baking. To prepare stir fries, grilled cheese or pancakes, the pan or griddle is often coated with fat or oil. Fats are also used as an ingredient in baked goods such as cookies, cakes and pies. Fats can reach temperatures higher than the boiling point of water, and are often used to conduct high heat to other ingredients, such as in frying, deep frying or sautéing. Fats are used to add flavor to food (e.g., butter or bacon fat), prevent food from sticking to pans and create a desirable texture.
Food products produced by animals include milk produced by mammary glands, which in many cultures is drunk or processed into dairy products (cheese, butter, etc.). In addition, birds and other animals lay eggs, which are often eaten, and bees produce honey, a reduced nectar from flowers, which is a popular sweetener in many cultures. Some cultures consume blood, sometimes in the form of blood sausage, as a thickener for sauces, or in a cured, salted form for times of food scarcity, and others use blood in stews such as jugged hare.[12]