Preparing a recipe from another part of the world helps us understand that country's culture, its history, its economy. Cooking an ethnic meal is one way to pass down information and appreciation of cultural adaptations and human resolve.
Consider the shape and function of the wok in Chinese cooking, how it cooks things quickly, utilizing very little precious fuel.
Consider the BBQ in our cowboy days. The open fire allowed the meat to be seared quickly and eaten without fanfare.
Our history is right there in front of us, in our kitchen.