Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Culinary Curiosity

Does anyone know why Chinese food never has cheese in it?

UPDATE: From the feedback I've gotten, the consensus seems to be that a) there's virtually no dairy in the East Asian diet in general, and b) this is because there are high rates of lactose intolerance among East Asians.

There's still an interesting chicken-and-egg question there: are East Asians generally lactose intolerant because, millennia ago, their ancestors didn't consume dairy products (thus giving lactose tolerance no natural-selection edge); or did the proto-East Asians decline to take up dairy consumption millennia ago because they were mostly lactose intolerant?

To put it differently, is it memetics (cow milk and its by-products are good to eat) driving genetics (the body can produce the enzymes to break down lactose), or the other way around?