Culture

Apparently The First English Recipe For Guacamole Was Written By A Pirate And Why Aren’t We Surprised

Have you ever wondered how guacamole ever made its way into a worldwide phenomenon? That is, beyond the fact that of course everyone likes it because it is hella delicious. Rather, have you brushed up on your history, and could you tell us about the who, what, when, where and how of guac’s ascendency to culinary fame? We’re guessing the answer’s no, since you’re still here, reading. Well, buckle up, kids. This is the story about how the original guac recipe made its way into the English language.

The story starts with a white dude. Because of course it does.

Creative Commons / National Portrait Gallery

To give you a bit of background, British-born William Dampier is the guy who put pen to paper and immortalized the first guacamole recipe in English. But, the story about how he got to that point is more interesting than it would seem. Dampier was a pirate, who started his career in 1679, in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche. This was back in the day where the gold standard of a pirate diet was basically dried beef, bread and warm beer – yeah, there’s nothing more that tastes of success than warm beer. The worst a pirate’s lifestyle lead to situations that included cannibalism and scurvy. It makes Pirates of the Caribbeansound like a picnic.

So here’s the thing. Dampier’s fascination with food is understandable. After all, it’s not like he was experiencing fine dining when he was at sea. What was a little more unusual was the fact that he decided to write about his experiences tasting the myriad of dishes he was offered throughout his travels. In fact, Dampier’s record-keeping was so meticulous that after fifteen years of piracy, he converted his notes into a bestselling novel: A New Voyage Around the World. Okay, okay, he was also probably motivated to explore a career as an author at that time because Spain had sentenced him to a year in prison. Nobody’s perfect, right?

Yeah, but get to the part about guac.

Instagram / @itsfresh

If you’re thinking that Dampier’s story is sounding a little familiar, we’ll tell you why: he was one hell of a basic travel blogger. He literally experienced the same existential crisis we all have in our twenties, decided that the standard career paths in logging and sugar plantations weren’t for him, and then set off around the world documenting his travels. We all know that if he had access to Insta, he would’ve been killing it in the influencer game.

Dampier’s journeys saw him mix with the locals he met throughout Latin America, and that’s where he fell in love with guacamole. It was in the Bay of Panama that Dampier wrote about a fruit “as big as a large lemon … [with] skin [like] black bark, and pretty smooth.” More flavor was added to it when the ripened fruit was “mixed with sugar and lime juice and beaten together [on] a plate.” And there we have it, amigas: the OG guac recipe, in English.

And that brings us to the guac recipes of today.

Pinterest / Macheesmo

Obviously, guacamole as a recipe hasn’t stayed the same since Dampier’s time. Granted, your abuelita probably puts her own special twist on her guac creations. That’s why we all love her so much – and why her guacamole recipes always keep us coming back for seconds … and thirds.

Then again, we’ve also seen some pretty horrendous reincarnations of the beloved guac. Some more atrocious examples of this include adding ranch seasoning to the standard recipe, some godforsaken pineapple guacamole, a moron’s take that saw fresh peas added with a hold on the lime juice, and for whatever reason the decision to include lettuce. Oh, and let’s not forget about the pomegranate guacamole

So, what crazy takes have you seen on the traditional guac? Or better yet, do you have a favorite, go-to guacamole recipe? Let us know on Facebook – you can find us through the icon at the top of the page.

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Día De Muertos Takes Over The Sneaker World With New Collection By Nike

Culture

Día De Muertos Takes Over The Sneaker World With New Collection By Nike

Nike

Mexico’s famed Día de Muertos celebration seems to be everywhere these days. Following the James Bond film Spectre – which featured several scenes amid a fictional Day of the Dead parade – Mexico City created the parade just to satisfy people’s demands.

Now, Día de Muertos is being picked up by brands from all over the world as a way to pay tribute to the popular, traditional holiday (and likely make some money in the process…)

Nike is the latest brand to announce its own Día de Muertos collection and it’s already got fans of the iconic brand ready and waiting with their wallets in hand.

Nike announced its latest Día de Muertos collection which is set to debut later this month.

Last week, the footwear company announced it will be releasing its 2020 Día de Muertos collection later this month, ahead of the Mexican holiday where families gather to celebrate their loved ones who have passed away.

According to Nike’s announcement, the collection includes four styles of shoes including the Air Max 90, the DBreak Type, the Blazer Mid and the Air Jordan 1, all with unique designs that have “a modern approach grounded in art and culture.”

“Día de Muertos’s traditional ofrendas, or altars, serve as the design inspiration behind each of the silhouettes and apparel pieces, with colors, patterns and crafted details nodding to the delicate, handmade artwork of papel picado and flowers typically seen at an altar,” the announcement said.

In addition to the four noteworthy sneaker types that will be available, the collection also includes t-shirts and a sweatshirt, all of which will likely sell out fast – so have your wallet ready!

Nike’s Día de Muertos collection is known for its festive colors and iconic designs.

Credit: Nike

The Nike Day of the Dead sneakers are the sneakers that the swoosh brand launches every year to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico. It is an annual celebration and remembrance, known for its striking iconography and festive colors.

Using the traditional Mexican Cempasúchil flower as a common thread and interpreting the motto “Para Mi Familia”, the four models are colorful tributes to the members of the family, both present and past.

Each pair is based on the traditional Day of the Dead ofrendas (altars), using bright color schemes and intricate details that salute the delicate papel picado and flowers that often surround them.

Some of the pieces — specifically the T-shirts, sweatshirt, the DBreak Type and the Air Jordan 1 — even have the phrase “Para Mi Familia” written on them, to bring the collection “back to the notion of family,” the announcement said.

The collection will even feature a special, limited edition Nike Air Jordan 1.

Credit: Nike

First up are the Nike Air Jordan 1 mid-cut shoe. It combines a white base with purple and gold overlays, provides a “Family” touch on the fender, special details on the tongue badge and insoles and a cracked leather around the neck.

If you’re looking for color, then the Air Max 90 will likely be your first choice.

Credit: Nike

The Nike Air Max 90 shoe is the most vibrant shoe of the bunch, covered from toe to heel in playful, swirling patterns that use multiple shades of red, yellow and orange.

Nike’s latest Día de Muertos collection is already available at Nike stores in Mexico but it the collection will be available globally in the Nike App SNKRS from the 15th of October.

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This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Culture

This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Granddriver / Getty Images

As a kid growing up in a Latino household, pretty much everyone had a giant molcajete for grinding up spices and making salsas, or a tortilladora for whipping up homemade tacos and quesadillas. And as staple of pretty much any Latina home, they weren’t that expensive either.

Well, one online company has taken all of that and flipped it upside down to try and make a very hefty profit by bringing ‘artisan crafted’ products into people’s homes – helping them experience a ‘cultural journey.’

The store’s outrageous prices for such traditional kitchen items is generating tons of criticism alone from people calling them ‘culture vultures’ and accusing them of gentrifying Latino cooking and cultural appropriation.

Verve Culture is being called a ‘culture vulture’ for taking traditional Latino cooking tools and selling them at insanely high prices.

Credit: MiComidaVegana / YouTube

Verve Culture – an online store dedicated to bringing “you on a cultural journey” – is facing a series of complaints after profiting from traditional cultural products. The company sells typical products in the preparation of three traditional cuisines at very high prices: Mexican, Moroccan, and Thai.

In the case of traditional Mexican products, the company sells orange and lemon juices; accessories for making chocolate, blown glasses, and molcajetes. And at insanely high prices: a molcajete for $60, a tortilla press for $60, a Mexican chocolate set for $80, and a “Mexican hand juicer” for $15.

The company is obviously profiting off of traditional products of a culture that is too often denigrated – or on the other end of the spectrum, fetishized. Brands are no stranger to appropriating traditional cultural items to boost sales but this particular instance seems to have hit a major nerve with shoppers.

Like, for real?! A molcajete for $60 USD?!

Among some of the most outrageous priced items is a molcajete and tortillero set that goes for $60 USD. That’s literally 20 times more expensive than it should cost.

As someone who lives in Ciudad de México, and who does their shopping at local tianguis and mercados, I have literally bought the exact same set Verve Culture is selling. I paid $60 pesos for the set – not $60 USD – or about $3 USD.

Selling items like this at such inflated prices means Verve Culture is profiting off of the cultural and gastronomic identity of an entire country. So it’s no surprise that Mexican Twitter lit up in shock and anger.

The reaction on Twitter was swift and full of outrage.

A Tweet showing off the outrageously priced products and accusing the brand of “gentrifying Mexican kitchen cookware” already has 36,000 likes and almost 20,000 retweets.

Among some of the comments include one Twitter user who said “Take your site down. This is an insult to Mexican culture along with all the other cultures you’re profiting off. Our culture is not your home decor!”

Another user tweeted, “…not of them is brown so it should really be named stolen culture because they’re selling fancy versions of things traditional to Mexican culture. Having one is fine, profiting off of a minority or their culture is not fine.”

While at least one person pointed out that the people who craft these items have long been taken advantage of. In a tweet, she said “Culturally we’ve been taught that our incredible craft and culture are worth close to nothing for years now, I really wish we could just collectively erase this mindset but at this point it’s so deeply rooted that thinking differently even feels “wrong” most times.”

Many pointed out that if you want to respect a culture’s food, support actual locals and artesanos.

Shopping online from three women who are not from the communities they’re profiting off of, is now way to support that community. That should be common sense but that site seems to have many customers.

As one Twitter user pointed out, if you really want to support local trabajadores, you should be buying directly from them. Shop in your local flea markets, your Latinx-owned shops and markets, this is how you’ll best help artisans.

The company’s $60 tortilla press was even featured in a Buzzfeed article earlier this year.

In the article, the author points out that the “tortilla press is made in Mexico from old Singer sewing machines and other recycled irons! The cast iron should last you, basically, forever so it’s definitely worth your money.”

That’s all great but where is that money going? How much of the $60 is the Mexican, Moroccan, Thai artisan actually earning from Verve Culture’s sales?

So what is Verve Culture and what do they have to say about all of this?

According to their website, Verve Culture is “a women-run business spanning three generational groups from Baby Boomer, Gen X, to Millennial.” As founders, Jules and Jacquie are a mother and daughter team who have worked together for 27 years.

In the company’s about section, they go on to say, “We are in constant pursuit of life traveled fully.”

“Our vision is to explore the cultural richness of artisans and communities around the world – to educate and inspire, while honoring the traditions and heritage of their work.”

Despite these claims, Twitter has been loud and clear in its message: stop profiting off the backs of already underpaid and overworked artisans from around the world.

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