What is the mildest cuisine?

Well, since the thread asking what is the spiciest cuisine got locked down as the discussion got too spicy. Ba doom cha….

What is the mildest cuisine? My vote is traditional New England. Not talking about anything new but honest to goodness traditional New England food. My lovely wife and her family introduced me to her native food. My mother in law would say that the food was nice and bland and mean that as a compliment. On one of our first sailing trips together on my old Pearson, after we tied up at the wharf on Block Island we went ashore for dinner. The lovely wife ordered roast chicken. When it came, it was gorgeous. Beautiful bronze crackling skin. She took a taste and first thing she says is she knows she’s back home in NE. The chicken had almost no seasoning. Hardly used salt. Clam chowder doesn’t exactly blow your taste buds away. It’s great but far far away from spicy. We have an old NE cookbook from the early 1900s that we inherited from an older neighbor. Hard to find a recipe that even uses garlic. A bowl of steamers is nothing more than steamed soft shell clams with a bowl of butter and another of cooking water. Hard to find much spice there. Haven’t even touched the classic steamed lobstah with butter. No sweating over that.

Maybe the discussion here will be so mild there will be nothing going on.


Father’s California transplanted Maine parents used to comment that he smelled of garlic when he snacked at friends’ houses. :upside_down_face:


I’d go with Northern & Central Europe. German, Austrian, Polish, Czech, French, Belgian, British are all fairly mild IMO.

What about goulash? That would automatically lose the race cause there’s some pepper being used there. So Central Europe is spicer in my experience than NE. Germans even have curry wurst. I’m trying to find a NE dish that remotely crosses into mild heat.

Yeah, you got a point re: goulash – a dish that was also mentioned in the “spicy” thread. But note that I didn’t include Hungary in my bland/mild list :wink:

I suppose currywurst can pack some punch, but if ( IF!!!) we are talking about the mildness level overall, German food qualifies IMESHO.

I agree that German food is pretty mild. But I remember many years ago having a meal in Bavaria. The mustard that accompanied my dish was pretty spicy. So while mild I’m still seeing things here and there that are spicer than anything in NE. The mustard they use on the hotdogs in Boston barely is mustard to my taste.

I’m leaving out all the more recent Italian and other immigrants who eat spicer stuff. Plain old classic New England food doesn’t like heat of any sort.

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I like German food. And I like spicy food. And sometimes I like being able to taste just the thing being cooked. A plain potato can be a revelation, not a punishment. Ditto a really fresh turkey without salt. The meat is sweet! That being said, I’d have a salt lick installed on my dining room table if my cardiologist would let me. :joy:


Mild does not equal flavorless.


We are in absolute agreement - though you lost me at the turkey, which requires at least salt for me.

Yep. I think you have it there. Hard to argue with steamed lobster drenched bite by bite in drawn butter. Don’t think I’ve encountered any pepper or garlic in fried seafood, clam chowdah, or any of the other NE standards.

ETA: Pre-fusion California cuisine might give NE a run for its money. Pre-Mexican, Asian, and so on, just the fresh produce barely touched.

I don’t know, I don’t go out looking for those on my day off :joy:

What do Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia have for spice? Chilies need warm weather, so what would northern peoples have used to liven things up before global trade? Onions, pickling, salting, smoking …

Mustard (seed), caraway, pickling spices, smoked and cured foods, black pepper, marjoram, lovage, dill & many other herbs, onion, horseradish…


I get a local, fresh-killed turkey for thanksgiving. And provide salt cellars at each place setting. But I roast it with herbs but without salt. I was amazed the first time I roasted one just how sweet the meat was, almost like a sprinkle of sugar. I suspect what I was actually experiencing was the taste of no-water-added (ie no commercial brine like substance) pure turkey.


Ooh, horseradish is a good one!

And other spicy radishes & peppery or bitter greens (kale, mustard)


I’ve had all kinds of locally raised meats, including turkey without any additives. I prefer to salt all my meats before and/or during cooking.

Mildest? Wales.

As I alluded to on another thread, I was surprised to learn just how bland Mongolian food is. Without spice plus they put it through the deflavorizing machine. And then they cook it to death.

If we are talking only about Scoville units, then there are many cuisines that have no use for 'em.

My vote goes to the semirural US, southern Illinois in particular. The meat is really, really good, much better than we get out west, but menu choices tend to be blah. My uncle’s favorite dinner was ham or grilled lamb chops (very good chops, just don’t put too much pepper on it or you’ll get a ration of shit), macaroni and cheese, and sliced tomatoes. My uncle threw a fit at a restaurant because they put garlic on his lamb chops. He thought it was the equivalent of dragging the raw meat behind a car for a mile or two. We were taken out for catfish at “the best place in the area” and had fried catfish that would’ve been good if it hadn’t been pulled from the Wabash river and tasted like mud. My aunt used to make that dip that calls for a pound of Velveeta and a can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chiles to serve at the bar downstairs. I watched all their friends gulping down water or beer and fanning their mouths, I couldn’t detect any heat at all.


I presume we’re using the same definition of “spicy” and “mild” as the other thread - just the use of chilli, rather than a use of the many other spices. Readers of the other thread will know that I’m in the camp that in, say, South Asian cooking the use of a wide range of spices is more important that the use just of chilli.

So, to try and answer the question with regard to traditional cuisine, you’d be looking for places that do not, or cannot, grow chilli. You’d also be looking for countries without significant long standing trade routes to palces from where chilli could be imported. Let’s remember that the use of chilli in South Asian cooking originates with the Portuguese colonisers, who brought it from their colonies in South America.

So, where to suggest? I’d go for Scandanavia. Certainly can’t grow chilli in that climate. Certainly werent countries trading with the spice growing areas, unlike say, Britain and the Netherlands. And there’s really no use of chilli in traditional Scandi cuisine.

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