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

Instagram / @birrieria_gomez

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

Instagram / @eatandstructure

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

Instagram / @andorralovers

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

Instagram / @natashazouves

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

Instagram / @cocina_tradicional_autentica

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

Instagram / @tuplatord

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

Instagram / @seisvecinos

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

Instagram / @lieats

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

Instagram / @brigadeiroebolonopote

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

Instagram / @plantaingirlstl

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

Instagram / @espetinhos_gourmet_

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

Instagram / @maruhbouzo

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

Instagram / @joie.seeks.world

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

Instagram / @chef.timour

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

Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

Culture

Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

mitocaya / Instagram

Undocumented communities are being left out of Covid relief plans. Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya in Chicago is working to help undocumented restaurant worker in the time of Covid. Abuse of undocumented workers is rampant in certain industries and Chef Dávila hopes to offer some kind of help.

Mi Tocaya is a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square that wants to help the community.

Covid-19 has devastated the hospitality industry with restaurants being hit exceptionally hard. Restaurants have been forced to close their doors for good as the virus dragged on with no decent relief plan from the federal government. As several countries financially support citizens to avoid economic disaster, the U.S. government has given citizens $1,800 total to cover 10 months of isolating and business closures.

Namely, Mi Tocaya is working to help the undocumented community.

Mi Tocaya, a family-run restaurant, is teaming up with Chicago’s Top Chefs and local non-profits Dishroulette Kitchen and Logan Square Neighborhood Association. The goal is to highlight the issues facing the undocumented community during the pandemic.

The initiative called Todos Ponen, is all about uplifting members of our community in a time of severe need. The restaurant is creating healthy Mexican family meals for those in need.

”We asked ourselves; How can we keep our doors open, provide a true service to the community, maintain and create jobs, and keep the supply chain intact by supporting local farmers and vendors. This is the answer,” Chef Dávila said in a statement. “I confidently believe The TODOS PONEN Logan Square Project addresses all of the above and can very well be easily implemented in any community. Our goal is to bring awareness to the lack of resources available to the undocumented workforce- the backbone of our industry.”

The initiative starts in February.

Mi Tocaya is offering 1000 free meals for local farmers and undocumented restaurant workers. The meals are available for pickup Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647. to make this happen, Mi Tocaya also needs your help.

The restaurant has teamed up with two nonprofits to make sure that they can scale their operation to fulfill their commitment. They are also asking for donations to make sure they can do what they can to help undocumented restaurant workers.

According to Eater LA, 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off since the pandemic started. Some restaurants have had to lay off up to 91 percent of their staff because of Covid, about 10 percent of those are undocumented. In the cities, that number is as high as 40 percent of the laid-off restaurant staff are undocumented.

“People don’t want to talk about the undocumented workforce, but they’re part of our daily routine in most restaurants,” Jackson Flores, who manages the operations of Mi Tocaya, said in a statement. “They are in the toughest position in the whole economy because they’re an invisible part of it. Restaurant worker advocacy groups have added the creation of relief funds to their agendas, but there have yet to be long-term changes in protections for undocumented workers. Without access to unemployment benefits and other government resources, this group is especially vulnerable.”

READ: Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

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From TV-less Weekdays To Cereal Bowls, People Are Sharing The Strangest House Rules

Culture

From TV-less Weekdays To Cereal Bowls, People Are Sharing The Strangest House Rules

James Leynse / Getty

If you’ve ever spent the night at someone else’s home, you know that there are people in the world who have house rules that can be very different from your own. From rules about drinking all of your milk cereal to not raising the volume of the television to a hearable level, different households have them all. Now, some of these crazy house rules are being shared in the comments section of an AskReddit. Not only are some of the stories and rules shared wild, some are also even a little sickening.

Check them out below!

“I had a friend who instead of washing the dishes after a meal just put them straight back in the cupboard. I thought his parents would freak out but it turns out it was just something they did in their house. Whenever I went over I always made sure to eat beforehand.” Reddit User

“Family who babysat me when I was young had a rule of “no drinking during meals” and I don’t just mean soda, juice or milk, no water until your meal is done. This was insane to me because we would be called in to supper/lunch after playing outside in the summer and weren’t allowed to drink anything until we sat down and finished our plates. Also, this rule didn’t apply to the father of the family who would often drink beer during meals.

My great-aunt had a parlor room in which all the furniture was covered in plastic and never used, it also had a plastic walkway going through the middle (just a strip of plastic cover) which was the only path you could walk on (she would flip out if you touched carpet).” –Random_White_Guy

“I wasn’t allowed to put extra salt on my food, had to be in bed by 8pm (all the way through middle school), and had to ride my bike to school everyday even though my best friends parents offered to take me.” –willwhit87

“No fighting over the heel of the bread. The father once off hand told his oldest children that the heel of a loaf of bread was the best and made them want it instead of the regular pieces. By the time there were 4 kids sometimes fist fights would break out over the heels. Loaves had been opened on both sides, or loaves were a mess because someone reached through the sack and pulled the back heel out. For a while there was a turn system where the heels were promised to a child for each loaf, but that fell apart when one went to summer camp and lost their turn. One time my friend wasted an afternoon waiting for his mother to come home with a fresh loaf of bread instead of going out and playing. I witnessed fist fights over the bread most people throw away.” –DarrenEdwards

“In college I had a friend that lived with his grandparents when he went to school. Before they’d let him leave the house his grandmother would say ‘nothing good happens after midnight’ and he would have to repeat it. If I was there, I would also have to repeat the phrase.” –iownalaptop

“I slept over a friends house in grade school one time. He prepared us a bowl of cereal the next morning for breakfast. Not thinking ANYTHING of my behavior, I didn’t finish the milk. I just never used to. I don’t know.

He was like “You uh…gonna finish that?”

“Uhhh oh…I uh…I don’t think so? Does that matter?”

He panicked. Absolutely panicked. I think he put it down the toilet before his parents came back into the room.

I don’t know what the rule was, exactly, but FINISH YOUR MILK OR DIE would be my guess based on his reaction. I still feel bad about it. I was like 8 and didn’t think.” –soomuchcoffee

“When I was a kid. I spent the night at one of my friends house. And you were allowed to drink a soda like sprite before bed. But you had to stir it till all the carbonation was gone.. Don’t ask me why…” –newvictim

“I had a friend in middle school, and his dad worked for Pepsi. No one was allowed to bring any Coke products into the house. The first time I went there his mom told me I could not come in the house because I had a Dr. Pepper. I thought she was joking and tried to walk in, but stopped me and said that if I don’t throw that in the garbage outside that I would have to leave. They were fucking serious about that shit.” – SlowRunner

“During college years, I used to visit my friend during summer months at his parents’ house, where he lived at that time. They had two odd “house rules” I’ll never forget:

  1. We couldn’t open any window in the house (even the bathroom window) – ever! Even if it was far cooler outside than inside during the summer.
  2. We weren’t allowed to close our bedroom doors at night, so that his parents’ cat could have free access to all rooms at all times. (This made it difficult to sleep, without a breath of air from the windows, and the cat walking over us in bed while trying to sleep.)” –Back2Bach

“I knew this family that would share the same bathwater as a means to cut down on their water bill. So when one person took a bath, they ALL took a bath that day. The waiting list was about 4-5 people deep. From what I understand, a lot of families do this, however, I just couldn’t see myself washing off in someone else’s soapy leftovers =( If that were the case, I got first dibs on getting in the bathtub first lol”- __femme_fatale__

“My ex’s family would throw all their left over food over their balconey instead of putting in the trash can. I asked them why they did that, they replied it keeps bugs away……..and didnt think rotted food right outside their door would bring bugs.” –PimemtoCheese

“I had a friend whose mom required her to sit on the floor. Never a chair, couch, bed, or other piece of furniture. I went to her house once and sat down on her bed and she flipped out, made me get off it and spent several minutes smoothing the sheets to make it look flat again. I think her mom thought “kids are dirty” but the rule was in place even after bathing and wearing clean.” –knitasha

“Went over to a school-mates’s house for dinner when I was in elementary school…his mom cut everyone’s good into little tiny bites before giving you the plate and only let us eat with a spoon… Her oldest daughter apparently choked on something once when she was a teenager and it became a rule…even on hamburger and hotdog night.” –GRZMNKY

“I was doing a project with a classmate at her house and on our way to her house we stopped at a store and picked up some snacks. We did our schoolwork and then just kind of played and messed around while eating those snacks. Then her mom came home and lost her absolute shit about the snacks. It wasn’t so much that we had eaten them, it was because the snacks had crumbs that had contaminated their otherwise purified home.

My friend had to stop everything and vacuum the entire house to get every crumb of snack, then take the nearly empty vacuum bag, the empty snack bags, and the half-empty but “contaminated” bag of kitchen trash outside and ask one of the neighbors if she could put it in their garbage bin because not a crumb of that kind of food was allowed on the property in any form after sunset. My mom picked me up and as I was leaving they were doing some additional purification ritual and my friend was praying for forgiveness for having potentially defiled their home.

Turns out they were 7th Day Adventist and it was against their code or whatever to have leavened foods in their house/property during a certain period of time? I don’t remember the exact details, but I remember it was a pretty big thing about how every crumb had to be removed from the property ASAP.” – alexa-488

“My neighborhood friend and I would hang out almost every day of the summer. We would go out exploring in the woods with a bunch of our friends and would usually come back all muddy and tired. My friend was very nice and would offer me water and food. His parents would take those away from me if they saw me with them saying they were only for their children. He was always allowed to eat at our house yet I’d have to walk back if they started having any type of meal. The worst though was his next door neighbor who had a daughter our age and when we were hanging out we all got muddy (we were 10) the girls mom proceeded to take her daughter and my friend into her house to clean them up and told me I wasn’t allowed to enter and that I could use the hose. Some people just know how to ruin a kid’s self esteem.” –boomsloth

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