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cuisine, the foods and methods of preparation traditional to a region or population. The major factors shaping a cuisine are climate, which in large measure determines the raw materials that are available to the cook; economic conditions, which regulate trade in delicacies and imported foodstuffs; and religious or sumptuary laws, under which certain foods are required or proscribed.

Climate also affects the supply of fuel; the characteristic Chinese food preparation methods, in which food is cut into small pieces before being cooked, was shaped primarily by the need to cook food quickly to conserve scarce firewood and charcoal. Foods preserved for winter consumption by smoking, curing, and pickling have remained important in world cuisines for their altered gustatory properties even when these preserving techniques are no longer strictly necessary to the maintenance of an adequate food supply.