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Day Of The Dead Food Traditions

October 20, 2017Read More

Halloween in America means Day of the Dead quickly follows in Latin America. Though only separated by a day, the Latin America Halloweentraditions of both form a stark contrast to the secular and Latino traditions. On the surface they may look a little similar but upon closer look, they are vastly different.

Latin American Food Traditions

One area, which you know I would address here, are the food traditions of Dia De La Muerta (Day of the Dead in Spanish). In North America food seems to based on the theme of secularity and fun. Candy passed out to children who are dressed as fictional ghoulish creatures is the main event followed by parties with junk food at every turn. Pizza, burgers, wings, and truckloads of sweets are the food of Halloween in North America. Death is almost mocked in this holiday, as well as any semblances of healthy food habits. In Latin America Day of the Dead is a serious holiday.

Day of the Dead is designed to honor the dead. It is a homage to family members past. This somber mood envelops just about every aspect of this November 1st Holiday. And included in this seriousness, is the food. The dishes made in the different Latin American countries have deep symbolic meaning.

Examples of Latin American Food Traditions

I pulled a few food and beverage customs and listed them here. This is not to say that there are not many important Latin America Halloweentraditions that are not culinary, I am just featuring a sampling of them here.

Ecuador

In Ecuador one custom is to bring a purple drink called Colada Morada to the gravesites of loved ones. This is accompanied by a sweet bread, which is in the shape of a baby.

El Salvador

In El Salvador festivities include a late night pumpkin dish with honey.

Nicaragua

In Nicaragua candy, fruit, and bread accompany other offerings on the gravesites of the deceased.

Peru

You see a similar theme in some areas of Peru where sweet foods and bread are often brought graveside

But regardless of the food, you do not see humor or commercialization of the macabre. It is a holiday of honor, and the foods and drinks reflect this.


Article Citations

Damaly Gonzalez October 21, 2016 celebration, dia de los muertos, Festival, Holiday, indigenous people, latin america, mexican celebrations, Mexico, et al. ‚ÄúD√≠a de los Muertos Celebrations in Latin America & Caribbean.‚Ä̬†HipLatina, 15 June 2017, hiplatina.com/dia-de-los-muertos-celebrations-latin-america-caribbean/.

Latin Food Myths

July 25, 2017Read More

Latin Food Is NOT Mexican Food

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about a Latino Restaurant is that the food is going to be Mexican latino restaurantfood. This is a huge misconception. Mexican food is it’s own style of cuisine. Yes, there may be Latin American influences but it is NOT the sole style of Latin American cooking. This is a big myth, but not the only myth permeating Latin American dishes.

In fact widen your gaze. Latin food incorporates everything from:

  • Costa Rica
  • Honduras
  • Cuba
  • Puerto Rico
  • Argentina
  • Peru
  • Columbia
  • El Salvador
  • Paraguay
  • Ecuador
  • Bolivia

Yes, Mexico is on that list..but it is not the sole contributor to Latino food

The point I am making here is Mexican food is a very narrow view of all the flavors, tastes, culture, and history surrounding the rest of South America, Central America and The Caribbean. So the key is to pull out what Mexican creations are stereotypes, hybrids etc.

And while we explore stereotypes..what you think is Mexican, isn’t really Mexican?

Most of the Mexican food in America isn’t Mexican at all. It is a mixture of Mexican and American called Tex-Mex. Many people think this is Latin food but it is more of a caricature of Mexican food than Latin food.

latino foodLatin Cooking is Not a Mexican Food Stereotype

Mexican food, which is really Tex Mex, contributes heavily to the stereotype that Latin food is just like Mexican food. This is again not true and some of the myths that go along with this thinking are:

  • All Latin Food Is Fried
  • Every meal has tortillas
  • Every meal has beans and rice

Again this is a stereotype. There are many Latino dishes that do not have any of this. Open a Latino cookbook and you will see dishes that have no resemblance at all to this caricature of Mexican, or Tex-Mex which involves frying some form of tortilla and then serving it with rice and beans.

An even bigger misnomer is that Latin food follows a few rigid culinary customs. But even in many of the Latin countries food will change by region, adding considerable variation to the taste. So many dishes that are actual authentic Latin dishes will have different variations.

south american foodNo Country is a Vacuum

Another misnomer is that all Latin food is indigenous to South America or the Caribbean. Just like in United States, waves of immigrants have come to South America and have added new flavors into the food. Centuries before the settlement of North America by Europeons,  much of the South American food made its way into Europe which had a huge impact on Europeon food.

Even inside a country, there are regional tastes..

Taste the variety for yourself at our Latin Lunch Buffet

But the proof is in the pudding. Check out our delicious and versatile Latin buffet in Williamsburg at El Sabroson. Yes you may find the occasional Mexican specialty on both our menu and our lunch buffet but it is one of many cultures contributing to the dishes that we offer.

Link To Our Latin Lunch Buffet in Williamsburg

 


References

10 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT LATIN FOOD

 Your Bibliography: Cosmopolitan. (2017). 10 Common Misconceptions About Latin Food. [online] Available at: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/food-cocktails/news/a33062/10-misconceptions-about-latin-food-everyone-has/ [Accessed 25 Jul. 2017].

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