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Eat for Democracy!


What do you get when you correlate food recipes and democracy indexes? Take a look!

Miha Mazzini: concept &  text
Marko Plahuta: data analysis & programing

Starting point of our research

Brain has developed as an organ to help us fill the stomach. A lonely stomach hunting and gathering in the savannah has less chance to survive than a group of them, so the societies have developed.

So, the content of the stomachs must mirror the structure of the society – what are the preferred foods for authoritarian regimes and what for democracies?

We took all of the recipes from and democracy indexes of The Economist and Wikipedia; we linked national cooking recipes with the countries, split recipes into ingredients and added democracy indexes to them.

How to read  our graphs

Countries can be “authoritarian”, “troubled”, “good” and “democratic” and are represented with circles in one color while foods, ingredients or tags with another.Big circle means more elements in this group. Distances between circles represent correlation.

You can see that food is more democratic in North America, more healthy, cooked  in 3 steps and less, too. In “good” countries there are more low calories foods, while in “troubled” rolls and biscuits share their primacy with water baths. “Authoritarian” is left with this:

Countries and ingredients

(download big picture, 6 MB)

Vanilla extract is standing out among democratic ingredients while onion is on the boundary between democracy and authoritarianism, standing strong in the “good” position. Garlic is “troubled”, as we have expected from our own experience if you allow us this small intervention in our scientific detachment. Carrot is red and so is its position, too.

How does the authoritarism feel?

The most authoritarian ingredients are different kind of peppers so it must feel spicy for sure, all the rest depending on the stomach: it may hurt some, while putting the others in discomfort.

How does the democracy feel?

Extremely sweet, nuts and corny:

Are there ingredients that thrive in every regime?

Yes. Salt and water are everywhere. If we consider the quantity of them, we might talk about the silent majority (but there is still further research and funding needed).

What food tags are synonymous with democracy?

From Swiss, Austrian, Swedish to Hidden Valley Ranch and April fool’s day.

How can I quickly distinguish between “troubled” and “good” country?

In the “troubled” country you will be offered a white wine, while in a “good” country you’ll get only water (but a lot of it). 

Why did you invest so much in your research?

We were both raised in the democracy but we love different snacks. We wondered whose stomach is more democratic. M&M wins.

Interactive map

So, where is your favorite food lurking? Try our search engine and you’ll get the answer.