Culture

Conchas Are An Important Part Of Mexican Cuisine Today, But Where Did They Come From?

Are you the type to dip your conchas in café por las mananas? Or do you like them with beans and sour cream, oozing with all that sweet and salty goodness? No matter how you eat them, it’s undeniable that conchas are a quintessential part of the Mexican diet—they’re perhaps the most ubiquitous type of pan dulce, gracing the shelves of panaderias all over the US and Mexico. Instantly recognizable from their shell-like appearance (“concha” does mean “shell,” after all), conchas are a special feature at holidays like El Dia de Los Muertos and Navidad, but they’re always around for us to enjoy at any moment. And while they play a major part in the daily lives of Latinos across the country, they have a curious history that makes them taste that much sweeter.

Like many current Latin American foods, conchas can be traced back to the colonial era, when the Spanish brought some of their culinary customs across the Atlantic.

Credit: Pinterest

Wheat was deeply important to early Spanish settlers. Not only were wheat breads a major part of the European diet, but wheat also carried a religious connotation within their Catholic faith. Just think about misa: the ritual of the Eucharist involves the passing and consumption of a wafer, and this wafer is (and always has been) made from wheat.

In addition to the Spanish, French recipes also took root in the Americas as demand for wheat-based bread grew. The appearance of skilled French bakers in the 17th century led to the implementation of things like brioche buns, baguettes, and (por suerte) the early ancestors of panes dulces into the “New World” diet. (Fun fact: the first French military intervention in Mexico was actually called Guerra de los Pasteles, or The Pastry War.)

It is said that pan dulce is really the result of highly creative collaborations between Catholic nuns, indigenous women, and criollas innovating with the limited ingredients they had access to at the time. In fact, most panes dulces today consist of a blend of indigenous and European ingredients, (like corn flour and wheat flour). Conchas, specifically, are made from yeasted brioche dough—dough that is inherently eggy and fatty (read: ridiculously delicious).

The concha consists of two main parts: a sweet, bready base and a crunchy sugar topping.

Credit: Pinterest

The concha adopts the appearance of a shell by pressing a bread stamp over the topping during the final rise of the dough, right before placing it in the oven to bake. Although the bread itself is soft, airy, and delicious, it doesn’t usually bear much flavor—the topping is home to most of the taste and texture. These flavors can range from chocolate and vanilla to pink and yellow (yep, you read that right—if you’re a true concha connoisseur, you know that each color is its own flavor).  

The fusion of tasty French bread and sweet, sugary toping has less obvious origins. We can’t help but wonder: can this combination be traced back to European colonists attempting to appeal more to indigenous tastes by adding extra sugar to their breads? Perhaps the cookie dough topping helped preserve the bread somehow, when preservation methods were far less advanced? Maybe it was just a matter of preference—after all, French bakers gleaned a lot from German techniques, which often involved the liberal application of streusels (a sort of cookie dough) on cakes and breads.

A version of this sugar-topped sweet bread is also found across the globe in Japan, where it is known as melonpan.

Credit: Wikipedia

With the advent of globalization, it is, of course, quite possible that this sweet bread started with the concha in Mexico and later spread to Asia. But according to bread historian Steven L. Kaplan and culinary historian Linda Civitello, it is perhaps more likely that melonpan and conchas—despite their similarities—originated on different continents independently of one another. Civitello suggests that both iterations are, nevertheless, part of the “Iberian peninsula diaspora . . . when the Portuguese sailed east, the Spanish sailed west.”

And that’s a pretty apt suggestion: as the Spanish were invading the Americas in the early 1500s, the Portuguese likewise invaded Japan. The neighboring European countries implemented similar wheat-based bread-baking techniques, most likely using a broad range of recipes to assimilate their respective colonies to wheat, despite Japan’s indigenous preference for rice and Mexico’s preference for corn.

And although the concha has quite a long and impressive history—with generations of people knowing of its magical powers—only recently has it begun to gain traction in the upper echelon of the culinary world. Renowned bakers across the country are experimenting with its basic ingredients to yield super creative renditions. From sesame tahini to matcha green tea, there is a concha for every preference and taste.

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Latinas Share The Movies They Love To Watch With Their Friends

Entertainment

Latinas Share The Movies They Love To Watch With Their Friends

STXfilms

Sure, we’re still in quarantine but that doesn’t mean all female bonding goes out the window! Cuddling up with your friends and staying in for a good movie is still totally possible thanks to Zoom and wine. And while our options of views might seem to be dwindling thanks to a lack of content on streamers…

Fortunately, Latinas are coming together to share the best movies to watch.

Check them out below!
“Practical Magic” –jessica_546

“Birds of Prey.”- brainsbeastbeauty

“Bridesmaids.” –

“Mean Girls” –dominiricanmarie


Paramount Pictures


“13 going on 30!” –_mariaaceves

“Twilight.” –vivaloscupcakes

“Moulin Rouge.” –ninasandra

“Practical Magic. “ isabel__maria__

Warner Bros.
Roadshow Entertainment

“Selena.” –momma_bear_of4

“Bridesmaids & Mean Girls.” –glamit_gabby

“Romy & Michelle, Legally Blonde, Devil Wears Prada, How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days, the Wedding Planner, Sex & the City.”- mixtapemcgee

“Aquamarine.” –itz_me_otra_vez

“Hustlers.” –mellowagrelo


STXfilms

“Legally blonde!! HELLO!! My big fat Greek wedding, anything hallmark.” –luvgabz

“Coyote ugly.” –sugarandstorytime

“Now & Then.” –l.a.momma

NOW AND THEN, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffman, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Christina Ricci, 1995


“Riding in Cars with boys.” –mrs.ssg415

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Cardi B’s First Leading Movie Role Will Thrill ‘Sister Act’ And ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Fans

Entertainment

Cardi B’s First Leading Movie Role Will Thrill ‘Sister Act’ And ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Fans

Michael Kovac / Getty

For one of her upcoming projects, fans of Cardi B can expect a throwback to her older days. That’s right, Cardi B is stepping into a familiar role before the screen. The former “Love & Hip Hop: New York” star has proven herself capable of making music bangers and in Hustlers she showed that she can hold her own when it comes to the big screen.

Now, the rapper is playing the lead in Paramount’s upcoming film Assisted Living.

Cardi was recently cast in the “raucous comedy” called Assisted Living.

According to Variety, the upcoming film “is being described as a ‘raucous comedy’ with ‘tremendous heart.’ Fans of Cardi can expect a film that looks quite a bit like Tootsie, Sister Act, and Mrs. Doubtfire.

The upcoming film follows Cardi B as Amber a small-time crook who gets herself into trouble when a heist goes wrong. “On the run from the cops and her former crew, she struggles to find anywhere to hide, reports Variety. “Running out of options, Amber disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out in the one place no one will look — her estranged grandmother’s nursing home.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Cardi B has been in a major film.

In 2019 she appeared the blockbuster film Hustlers starring Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo, and Keke Palmer.

And of course, for some time fans were hopeful that Cardi would take on the titular role of a reboot of the ’90s sitcom “The Nanny.”

According to CNN, the reality star-turned-rapper has been in talks to play Fran Drescher’s daughter in a potential reboot of the ‘90s sitcom.

Speaking about a potential reboot in 2018, Fran Drescher told Extra in an interview “[I’m] talking to her representation. It’s really getting me excited. It’s fresh and it could be super fun.” Here’s hoping we get more Cardi B on screen!

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