Culture

Turns Out Pupusas And Hundreds Of Other Latin American Dishes Are Rooted In Colonization

Amigos, this is not the article to read if you’re feeling hungry. Or, maybe it is – if you’re up for a challenge! Just don’t blame your rumbling stomach on us. We’ve put together a quick primer on how our favorite foods from Latin America came about.

1. Tacos

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When you’re eating a taco, you’re partaking in not just any old history – you’re experiencing a piece of ancient history. Why? Because the humble taco predates the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico! Apparently, anthropologists have found evidence that the indigenous people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos with a filling made of small fish. In fact, Hernán Cortés enjoyed tacos so much that he arranged them for his captains to try in Coyoacán.

2. Burritos

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Okay, so we may not know the story behind how the modern burrito came about. But, there’s plenty that points to the Mesoamerican people being the inventors of the original burrito. They were in the habit of wrapping corn tortillas around fillings made of chili peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, squash, and avocados way back in 10,000 B.C. And yet, somehow the burrito, in all its delicious goodness, made its way through time to first appear on an American restaurant menu during the 1930s.

3. Churros

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If there’s anything we can say about churros, it’s that they’ve been around for hundreds of years. Where they got their start from, though, is shrouded in mystery. One theory suggests that they made their way to Europe thanks to the Portuguese messing with a Chinese recipe for youtiao – the Chinese version of a churro. Another theory says that Spanish shepherds used to make them while they were in the mountains since they are so easy to make and fry in an open fire.

4. Cuban Sandwiches

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Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, travel between Cuba and Florida was a lot easier than what it is now – especially from Key West and Tampa. It was pretty common for Cubans to sail back and forth for work, family visits, and even holidays. It is said that the Cuban sandwich was invented around this time since it was a pretty common lunch food for the workers in Cuban cigar factories and sugar mills.

5. Ropa vieja

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The recipe for ropa vieja is at least 500 years old, which has given us plenty of time to perfect it. It originated with the Jewish population living on the Iberian peninsula in Spain. As the Sabbath was a time for prayer and reflection, not cooking, the Jewish people would slow-cook a delectable stew the night before. Clearly, the dish was so good that the Spanish brought the recipe with them when they migrated to Latin America, where it has been a staple ever since.

6. Mangú

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It is thought that mangú originated in the Congo region in Africa, where it was common to eat boiled mashed plantains. From there, it is likely that the recipe made its way across the seas to Latin America during the times of slave trading. Apparently, the name comes from something along the lines of “mangusi”, referring to pretty much any root vegetable that was boiled and mashed.

7. Tostones

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The recipe for tostones is so old that most have forgotten its origins. But, most believe that it’s from the Dominican Republic since it’s the only place that has kept the original dish’s name. Plus, there are some pretty similar recipes in the area: think along the lines of mofongo, arañitas, alcapurria and tostones de pana.

8. Pupusas

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The earliest evidence of pupusas have been found in the ruins of Joya de Cerén in El Salvador – for those of you that need to brush up on your history, that’s basically El Salvador’s Pompeii. Believe it or not, cooking tools for papusas were preserved among the ashes of the centuries-old ruins! It’s estimated that papusas were eaten around 2000 years ago by the Pipil tribes of the region.

9. Brigadeiro

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Brigadeiro was invented in 1945, just after the end of World War II. Brazil had entered the campaign season for its presidential elections, and one candidate, the gorgeous Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, was enormously popular among women. His most devoted followers decided to take his election campaign into their own hands and made candy to be sold in his name. Considering how scarce foodstuffs were after the war, they got creative, mixing condensed milk with butter and chocolate to create the recipe we know and love today. It turns out brigadeiro survived a lot longer than the Brigadier’s political career – in the end, he didn’t even get elected.

10. Empanadas

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It is thought that empanadas were originally created in Galicia, which is to the northwest of Spain. Apparently, the recipe was recorded in the Libre del Coch by Robert de Nola in 1520 – the first cookbook that was printed in the Catalan language. Chances are it was eaten by the King of Naples, Ferdinand I since Robert de Nola served as his cook. The original recipe mentions empanadas filled with seafood.

11. Churrasco

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Even though churrasco is known for being a Brazilian cuisine, apparently it got its popularity in the region after Portuguese settlers imported it in the 1700s. Brazilian cowboys, or gaúchos, were known for chowing down on churrasco after a hard day herding cattle on the ranches. The traditional method of preparing churrasco would see gaúchos start by digging large fire pits. They would then wait around the fire for the wood to turn to embers before skewering the meat.

12. Chipá

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Chipá has been around since human settlements developed in the Guarani region, over a thousand years ago, meaning that it’s been a staple in Paraguay, Northeastern Argentina, Southeastern Bolivia, and Southwestern Brazil for a long, long time. Back in the day, the original recipe for chipá saw it prepared with simply cassava starch and water. Colonization and the arrival Jesuit missionaries saw the introduction of cattle, chickens and other livestock to the area, which then resulted in more ingredients being added to the original recipe. Over time, this transformed chipá into the dish we eat today.

13. Mole

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Mole has a bit of a contentious history. Why? Because there are two states in Mexico that claim to be the proud inventory of mole: Puebla and Oaxaca. And, sure, the best-known mole comes from both of those areas, so it’s hard to say which state has the better claim to the title. While the true origins of mole may never be known, what we do know is that the first recipes for mole appeared after the Mexican War of Independence in 1810.

14. Ceviche

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It’s been thought that ceviche originated in a few different places around the world – from Peru to the Philippines, to Ecuador, and even the Polynesian islands in the South Pacific, since so many civilizations seemed to enjoy some variation of the recipe. That being said, most historians agree that the beginnings of ceviche as we know it today was brought to Peru by the Spanish during colonial times.

So which Latin American dish is your favorite from our list? Tell us about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

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

Mountain Dew Margaritas Are Apparently A Thing At Red Lobster Now?

Culture

Mountain Dew Margaritas Are Apparently A Thing At Red Lobster Now?

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

We’ve seen all kinds of takes on the timeless classic that is a Margarita. From frozen Margaritas to ones with cranberry juice and dashes of blue curaçao and twists of basil and ginger beer we’ve literally seen it all. Or so we thought.

Recently, Red Lobster announced that they’re doing a Mountain Dew-take on the beloved and salty tequila cocktail.

Red Lobster’s DEW-Garita promises to set you aglow.

The drink is the first official Mountain Dew cocktail and of course, it is bright lime green. While the cocktail’s recipe is being kept strictly under wraps, like everything at Red Lobster’s, it’s supposed to pair “perfectly” with Red Lobster’s iconic Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

“Red Lobster is thrilled to work with PepsiCo, not only because it has a great portfolio of brands, but specifically because of the food and beverage innovation possibilities,” Nelson Griffin,the Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Red Lobster said in a statement about the drink.

Red Lobster’s DEW-Garita is due to debut at Red Lobster locations nationwide in September and by the end of 2020.

The Margarita is an iconic Mexican drink related to a drink called Rhe Daisy.

The classic Tequila sour cocktail is one of the most beloved cocktails in the world. According to Wine Enthusiast “One story claims that the drink was created in 1938, as Mexican restaurant owner Carlos (Danny) Herrera mixed it for gorgeous Ziegfeld showgirl Marjorie King. Supposedly, Tequila was the only alcohol that King would abide, so Herrera added lime juice and salt.”

To make your own classic Margarita check out this recipe below

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt
  • Lime wedge
  • 2 ounces white Tequila
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice

Directions

Shake out coarse salt on a plate. Wet the rim of a glass by using the lime wedge. Press the rim of the glass in the plate of salt to coat. Add ice to the glass.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the rest of the ingredients. Shake well, and pour into the prepared glass over ice.

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El Pollo Loco Creates Hispanic Heritage Month Grant To Support Latina Small Businesses

Fierce

El Pollo Loco Creates Hispanic Heritage Month Grant To Support Latina Small Businesses

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Covid-19 has devastated millions of Americans with job loss. Unemployment skyrocketed as the federal government failed to create and execute a plan to combat the pandemic. El Pollo Loco is stepping up and giving our community a chance to keep business doors open and community members employed.

El Pollo Loco is giving Latina business owners in the greater Los Angeles area a lifeline in these uncertain times.

The Latino community is the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs and business owners in the U.S. According to a Stanford University study, Latino business owners grew 34 percent while every other demographic grew 1 percent over the last ten years.

However, Covid has changed things. Latina-owned business are some of the hardest hit and the sudden loss is impacting our community. According to the Pew Research Center, Latinas experienced a -21 percent change in small business ownership and jobs since the Covid downturn.

El Pollo Loco is offering $100,000 in grants to different Latina-owned businesses because of the pandemic.

The fast food chain has started a GoFundMe to keep the donations going. El Pollo Loco has already pledged $100,000 to help Latina small businesses and the GoFundMe promises to keep the donations flowing. For every $10,000 raised in the GoFundMe, El Pollo Loco will donate it to a Latina small business. The GoFundMe has raised over $100,000 at the time of this post.

#WeAllGrow Latina partnered with El Pollo Loco to give Latina business owners this lifeline.

#WeAllGrow Latina and El Pollo Loco are asking the Latino community to help find Latina small businesses that deserve the grants. Instead of making the decision themselves, #WeAllGrow Latina and El Pollo Loco want you to nominate your favorite Latina small business for the grant.

“This year has been unlike any other, leaving Latina-owned businesses disproportionately impacted,” Bernard Acoca, President and Chief Executive Officer of El Pollo Loco, said in a statement. “Given the critical role brands are expected to play during the pandemic and on the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, we felt compelled to find a way to support the people and city we call home.”

In order to nominate a business, here is what you have to do.

Credit: weallgrowlatina.com/fundlatinafoodjefas

Using social media, nominate your favorite LA-based Latina small business and tag @elpolloloco and @weallgrowlatina while using #grantcontest and #FundLatinaFoodJefas. You can nominate the business up to five times.

People are already nominating their favorite food places in LA.

You have until Sept. 15 to nominate your favorite Latina small business. You can help them win $10,000 and mentorship from El Pollo Loco to help Latina business owners in LA keep their doors open. You can learn more here.

READ: California Is Poised To Become The First State To Offer Unemployment To Undocumented Workers

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