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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A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Culture

A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Social media is where people can show off just about anything they create. This includes art in any and all media, like pancake art. Claudia, the creator behind Nappan Pancake art, is the latest artist watching their art reach the masses.

Claudia, the artist behind Nappan Pancake art, got her start because of the pandemic.

@nappancakes

casi ✨1 año✨haciendo #pancakeart 🥞 #parati #foryou #viral #trend #glowup #art #foryoupage

♬ Inox la bggg – ᗰᗩᖇIE ᗰOI ᑎᗩᖇᑌTO

The artist first started to play around with pancake art last spring break when the pandemic forced businesses and schools to close. Claudia wanted to get more creative with her kids’ breakfasts since they were now always at home.

“I started experimenting with making Pancake art,” Claudia recalls to mitú. “At first I only used the color of the natural dough and a little cocoa. At first, I just used the ketchup dispensers and little by little I learned.”

Claudia uses her pancake art to honor some truly iconic people.

@nappancakes

Responder a @detodoun_poco233 Cepillín ✨🥞✨ en nuestros ♥️ #parati #fy #HijosAdopTiktoks #adoptiktoks #viral #foryou @cepillintv #pancakeart ncakeart

♬ La Feria de Cepillin – Cepillín

Cepillín recently died and the loss was felt throughout the community. He made our lives joyous and fun with his music, especially his birthday song. Some of the creations are done for fans who request to see their faves turned into delicious pancake art.

The artist loves creating the edible works of art.

The journey of becoming a pancake artist has been a fun adventure for Claudia and her children. The more she has practiced, the more she has been able to do.

“Sometimes I scream with excitement and I go to all the members of my house to see it,” Claudia says about her successes. “Other times it’s just a feeling like “disappointment could be better” other times it just breaks or burns and then I just cry but it usually feels very satisfying.”

You can check out all of her creations on TikTok.

@nappancakes

Responder a @reyna100804santoyo siii🥞✨ díganle que me adopte 🥺 @ederbez #adoptiktoks #hijosadoptiktoks #parati #foryou #viral #fy #art #pancakeart

♬ Little Bitty Pretty One – Thurston Harris

With 350,000 followers and growing, it won’t be long until more people start to fully enjoy Claudia’s art. Her children can’t get enough of it and she is so excited to share it with the rest of the world.

READ: Spicy Food Lovers Have Reason To Celebrate As New Study Says Eating Chilies Could Be Secret To Longevity

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All The Fun Streams Available On Netflix Starting In April

Entertainment

All The Fun Streams Available On Netflix Starting In April

Spring is officially here and sweeping in with a new bundle of shows and films to binge and watch on Netflix. From the much-anticipated adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series to a new David Attenborough docuseries, there are tons of shows to look forward to watching this April.

That’s right, spring into action gang, this April has a world of great streams!

April 1

  • 2012
  • Cop Out
  • Friends with Benefits
  • Insidious
  • Legally Blonde
  • Leprechaun
  • Magical Andes: Season 2
  • The Pianist
  • The Possession
  • Prank Encounters: Season 2
  • Secrets of Great British Castles: Season 1
  • Tersanjung the Movie
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
  • White Boy
  • Worn Stories
  • Yes Man

April 2

  • Concrete Cowboy
  • Just Say Yes
  • Madame Claude
  • The Serpent
  • Sky High

April 3

  • Escape from Planet Earth

April 4

  • What Lies Below

April 5

  • Coded Bias
  • Family Reunion: Part 3

April 6

  • The Last Kids on Earth: Happy Apocalypse to You

April 7

  • The Big Day: Collection 2
  • Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute
  • Snabba Cash
  • This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist
  • The Wedding Coach

April 8

  • The Way of the Househusband

April 9

  • Have You Ever Seen Fireflies?
  • Night in Paradise
  • Thunder Force

April 10

  • The Stand-In

April 11

  • Diana: The Interview that Shook the World

April 12

  • New Gods: Nezha Reborn
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn: Seasons 1-4

April 13

  • The Baker and the Beauty: Season 1
  • Mighty Express: Season 3
  • My Love: Six Stories of True Love

April 14

  • Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!
  • The Circle: Season 2
  • Law School
  • The Soul
  • Why Did You Kill Me?

April 15

  • Dark City Beneath the Beat
  • The Master
  • Ride or Die

April 16

  • Arlo the Alligator Boy
  • Ajeeb Daastaans
  • Barbie & Chelsea The Lost Birthday
  • Crimson Peak
  • Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Season 4: Mexico
  • Into the Beat
  • Rush
  • Synchronic
  • Why Are You Like This
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife

April 18

  • Luis Miguel – The Series: Season 2

April 19

  • Miss Sloane
  • PJ Masks: Season 3

April 20

  • Izzy’s Koala World: Season 2

April 21

  • Zero

April 22

  • Life in Color with David Attenborough
  • Stowaway

April 23

  • Heroes: Silence and Rock & Roll
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Tell Me When

April 27

  • August: Osage County
  • Battle of Los Angeles
  • Fatma
  • Go! Go! Cory Carson: Season 4

April 28

  • Sexify
  • Headspace Guide to Sleep

April 29

  • Things Heard & Seen
  • Yasuke

April 30

  • The Innocent
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines
  • Pet Stars
  • The Unremarkable Juanquini: Season 2

Leaving Netflix in April

April 2

  • Honey: Rise Up and Dance

April 4

  • Backfire

April 11

  • Time Trap

April 12

  • Married at First Sight: Season 9
  • Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning: Season 1

April 13

  • Antidote

April 14

  • Eddie Murphy: Delirious
  • The New Romantic
  • Once Upon a Time in London
  • Thor: Tales of Asgard

April 15

  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

April 19

  • Carol
  • The Vatican Tapes

April 20

  • The Last Resort

April 21

  • The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass: Seasons 1-3

April 22

  • Liv and Maddie: Seasons 1-4

April 23

  • Mirror Mirror

April 24

  • Django Unchained

April 26

  • The Sapphires

April 27

  • Ghost Rider (2007)

April 27

  • The Car
  • Doom

April 28

  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop

April 30

  • 17 Again
  • Blackfish
  • Can’t Hardly Wait
  • Den of Thieves
  • How to Be a Latin Lover
  • I Am Legend
  • Jumping the Broom
  • Kingdom: Seasons 1-3
  • Knock Knock
  • Palm Trees in the Snow
  • Platoon
  • Runaway Bride
  • Snowpiercer
  • The Green Hornet
  • The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Waiting

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com