Latino Food

A Brief History of Mariachi Music

June 8, 2020Read More

The origins of the name “Mariachi” are still a mystery to this day. It was said to have come from the French word for “marriage” dating back to the French occupation of Mexico in the 1860’s. Given how mariachi bands were often seen playing at weddings, this was the popular theory for many years. It was even promoted on record sleeves and travel brochures, but has since been proven incorrect by historians. It is now thought to be of indigenous origin, representing the wood used to create ancient instruments and dancing platforms. Though the name has long remained a mystery, mariachi goes far beyond music.

The Rise of the Mariachi

The mariachi movement began in Jalisco, Mexico during the 19th century; but the common perception of the mariachi as we know them today was developed in the early 20th century. The music was transformed from regional folk to an urban phenomenon and came to represent all of Mexico. After the Mexican revolution, the Mexican government was heavily involved in cultural promotion as a way to create a new national identity. With their songs of loyalty, love, politics, and revolutionary heroes; mariachi became a symbol of freedom for the people of Mexico.

Tools of the Trade

Aside from fierce musical talent, a passion for all things Mexican, and a snazzy charro outfit; a true mariachi band thrives on a variety of different instruments. These are the common instruments of the mariachi:

Mariachi Strings

Vihuela: The vihuela is a creation of the Coca Indians of Southwestern Jalisco in Mexico. It has five strings and a bowed back, and it is slightly larger than a ukulele. It is played with a thumb pick in the rasqueado (strummed) style and is the harmonic foundation of the mariachi band.

Acoustic Guitar: A standard guitar is used and serves to supplement the vihuela as a rhythmic element in the mariachi band. The guitar and the vihuela typically play the same rhythmic patterns and keep a strong foundation for the group.

Guitarrón: The guitarrón is the bass foundation of the group and is arguably the most important element in the mariachi band. It serves not only as the bass of the group, but it gives the group its characteristic sound. It is said that if there is no guitarrón, there should be no performance.

Trumpet: A standard trumpet is used at various times, and supports the melody, adding an extra bit of soul to the mariachi band.

Violin: A standard violin is also used to provide rich texture and added emotional weight. Due to the versatility of the instrument, this tone can change from sadness to happiness in an instant.

Other instruments: There are occasions when instruments such as the flute, French horn, accordion, and organ are used, though these instruments are typically used for more specific arrangements.

Mariachi Music of Modern Day

During the 1950s Mariachi culture became deeply rooted in the United States, later expanding to the rest of the world. Today, mariachi music is played in places as far away as Japan and Europe; bringing their vibrant and often uplifting music to a whole new audience. Mariachi transcends both borders and ethnicity. It is more than just the music of a country. It is the music of pride, tradition, and freedom. If you are interested in learning more about Mexican/Latin culture, come out and visit us!

An Introduction To Latin American Cuisine History

February 25, 2020Read More

The term Latino refers to a native or inhabitant of Latin America or a person of Latin American origin living in the United States. This Latin American culture is a combination of Spanish cuisine and traditional ingredients with later European influences of Germany, Italy, France and the Middle East. But to find a truly unique infusion of the flavor of Latin American, we have to look to South America including Bolivia, Columbia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil where the food is not one unified cuisine, but a mix of many different cultures. The long coastline of Chile along with the fertile farmlands of Argentina make for a unique blend of flavors and foods ranging from grilled meats or parrilla from grass fed beef cattle to flavorful fish stews and Chilean Sea Bass.

pan seared chilean sea bass

From the superb seafood choices and grilled meats of Argentina to the lush fruits and vegetables of the Brazilian Rainforest, this area is a melting pot for the infusion of cultures that make up the tastes of Latin America. A popular snack in Latin American cuisine, anempanada (pastelin Brazilian Portuguese andsalteñain Bolivia) is a baked or fried bread or pastry which is stuffed with meat, cheese, huitlacoche (“corn smut”, a delicacy in Mexico), vegetables or fruits, among other fillings.

Latin American food has become a popular trend for those looking to experience the exotic cuisine of our neighbors to the south. As a result of that growth, a burst of not only Mexican food, but also Central and South American cuisine sprang onto the culinary scene.

Our menu represents a delicious mix of food from our many cultures. We promise you fresh ingredients; hand-crafted cooking and Abuela’s (granny’s) lifelong recipes that will allow you to savor our Latin American Culture with every bite that you take. We use local, in-season, readily available ingredients in our restaurant and kitchen. All of our glorious foods are prepared from time-honored family recipes and served with the true warmth and hospitality we’ve come to associate with Latin Culture. We welcome you all as guests and as family of our beloved heritage.

Latin American Traditions: Altars And Dia De La Muertos

October 4, 2019Read More

Halloween in America is vastly different from Dia De La Meurtos In Latino Countries. While both focus on themes that encompass death, they have vastly different purposes. In the United States Halloween has taken on a secular commercialized nature. It features costumes but looks at death in almost brash jestful way, making caricatures of scary costumes and celebrating the holiday with movies that are designed to scare you, all from the safety of a theater or couch.

latin customs

Dia Del La Muertos follows lays down a sharp contrast to the playfulness and commercialism of this type of Halloween. First it starts the day after Halloween. It is not about fun, parties, scary movies, or a playful view of death. It focuses on a more spiritual aim. The goal is to honor deceased love ones. It is a sacred holiday that is about family and celebrating their lives.

There are many traditions surrounding this holiday. One tradition that is prominent is the use of altars to honor loved ones. The altar is a good symbol of the true purpose of this holiday. The altar is an offering place where family and friends make offerings to honor deceased relatives. You most often see these at the graveside or in homes.

latin traditions

Altars:

Families construct altars at home and at gravesites to honor those that have passed. This can include a myriad of things like

  • Sweets
  • Photos
  • Symbolic items
  • Flowers
  • Bread
  • Candles
  • Tamales
  • Dolls
  • Assorted Toys

These can be very elaborate but it represents how different Dia De La Muertos is from American Halloween. The focus is on honoring and celebrating the departed. The altars are not necessarily designed to be sad. They are there to celebrate life in a tasteful way. Different Latin American or South American countries have different traditions that they do for this somber yet peaceful holiday. Regardless, you will see alters at many of them.

 


References

Day of the Dead altars: What’s on a traditional version. (2016, October 3). Retrieved from https://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/holidays/day-of-the-dead/2016/10/03/day-of-the-dead-dia-de-los-muertos-altars/91511520/

Day of the Dead. (2001, October 28). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead

Latin Restaurant Specialty: Chicharron

September 27, 2019Read More

One great thing about El Sabroson Latin Restaurant In Williamsburg is you can enjoy Latin food specialties from throughout Central and South America. Today’s Latin Food feature..Chicharron.

Chicharron

The Chicharron, which is offered on the El Sabroson restaurant menu combines deep fried pork rinds, with a multitude of seasonings, vegetables, flavors  and spices. Our Chicharron at El Sabroson adds onion and bell peppers to ground pork.

chicharon

The Origin Of Chicharron

This highly popular Latin American Food has its origins in Spain. Like all foods, it is made in different ways throughout Central And South America. For example In Peru you might find it as an appetizer on your local menu being served with relish and yuca. In Bolivia you will see it served with salsa. All the variations are similar, combining fried meat with seasonings. Each little spin brings out new flavors and textures in this popular Latino dish.

Come Enjoy This Latin Treat At El Sabroson Restaurant In Williamsburg, Va.

Come try the Chicharron at El Sabroson in Williamsburg. All the dishes on the El Sabroson menu make up a rich tapestry of dishes that fuse elements of Spanish food, Tex-Mex, Central American Cuisine and South American dining.

latino food in williamsburg

 

Sources


About Chicharron
In-text: (“About Chicharron”)
Your Bibliography: “About Chicharron”. Ifood.Tv, 2019, https://ifood.tv/spanish/chicharron/about.

 Chicharrón
In-text: (“ChicharrĂłn”)
Your Bibliography: “ChicharrĂłn”. En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ChicharrĂłn.

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