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Saca Tu Bandera: Which Side of these Latino Food Rivalries are You On?

¡Ya se armo! Latinos are always up for a good fight. Our food rivalries are the stuff of legend, so much so, that if you claim a dish is better than another, THINGS WILL GET HEATED. Here are some of the fiercest rivalries:

1. Arepas – Colombia vs. Venezuela

Venezuelan Arepa

Photo Credit: De Pabellón/flickr

The gloves are off! Let’s start with the classic Latin American food duel: arepas. Colombians and Venezuelans are friendly foes when it comes to this masarepa dough creation, and each country swears its version is THE BEST.

Venezuelan arepas are typically thicker than Colombian arepas. They’re usually split down the middle and stuffed with drool-worthy fillings such as pulled pork, chicken or cheese.

Colombian Arepas

Photo Credit: http://alimentosdemitierra.com

Colombian arepas are thinner and are more likely to be stuffed (or topped) with butter and cheese. But you can also find Colombian arepas topped with ingredients like avocados, eggs and cheese.

2. Argentine Asado vs. Mexican Carne Asada

Asado

Carne Asada

3. Pisco – Chile vs. Peru

Pisco Sour

Photo Credit: Thomas S./flickr

Peruvians and Chileans give each other the side-eye on who has the better pisco, a brandy made by distilling grape wine into a spirit. The two neighbors will debate endlessly on which country produced it first, up to the etymology of the word. The competition is so fierce, it is illegal to import pisco from Chile to Peru. #NoChillZone

Peruvians are also extremely strict about not diluting the pisco, while Chileans lean towards a more modern approach to the process – aging pisco in wood barrels or mixing it with distilled water. Chileans also mix it with Coke or Sprite.

Piscola 

What each country can agree about? You’ll never meet a pisco happy hour you don’t like! Order up Peru’s adopted national drink, a pisco sour, next time it hits 5:00 p.m.

4. Wine – Chile vs. Argentina

Argentine Wine

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✨Elaborado con uvas #pinotnoir y #chardonnay, este magnífico ejemplar de @bodegaslopez Montchenot Brut Nature Rosé es #Fresco, #elegante y #floral ???????????? . ????Iniciada en 1898, Bodegas Lopez es una de las bodegas mas conocidas y prestigiadas en la Argentina ???????? Has probado sus vinos? . . . ✨ Enchanted with this wine and its pink sparkles ???? Made with #pinotnoir and #chardonnay grapes, this magnificent sparkling wine from @bodegaslopez Montchenot Brut Nature Rosé is #Fresh, #elegant and #floral ???????????? . ???? Founded in 1898, Bodegas Lopez is one of the most well-known and prestigious vineyards in Argentina ???????? Have you tasted their wines? . . #bodegalopez #mendoza #argentina #champan #rose #roseallday #montchenot #argentinewines #vino #vinho #vin #wine #vinhoargentino #vinoargentino #argentinianwine #throwback

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5. Mojitos vs. Caipirinhas

Mojito

Capirinha

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#caipirinha ????. @aline_meunier #aperotherapie

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6. Pupusas vs. Gorditas

Pupusas

Gorditas 

7. Ceviche – Peru vs. Ecuador

Peruvian Ceviche

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#cevicheperu

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Photo Credit: @david_peruvianfood/ Instagram

Oh, we are stirring the pot on this one. Peruvians love their ceviche so much, there is even a holiday dedicated to it (June 28, amigos)! This Anthony Bourdain-approved dish is served with marinated fish under a bed of purple onions.

Ecuadorian Ceviche

Photo Credit: @losmesegares_restaurante/ Instagram

Ecuador’s ceviche doesn’t have a holiday dedicated to it, but it sure looks tasty enough to call in sick from work and just grub on this shrimp, lemon and tomato sauce concoction.

Which food duel is your favorite? Which dish is your winner? Mitú wants to know. Leave a comment below.

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Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

Culture

Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

I can literally talk food until my babas drip. Don’t judge. The comelón life chose me and I’m not mad at it. Because growing up Latino meant breakfast wasn’t always cereal, and dinner wasn’t always mac and cheese. I grew up con más sabor en mis platillos than most Americans. And, at the time, I didn’t even realize that many of the foods my family was trying to get me to eat were ancestral foods. From chocolate to cocoa and chia to nopalitos, I blame los ancestros for my obsession with food and all the glorious ingredients that have been passed down for generations.

My knees already feel weak, fam, because today I’m gonna be talking nopalitos. Ya me estoy chupando los dedos, thinking back to how I grew up with these babies always in the refri in that Nopalitos jar, ready to be thrown into a sauce or encima de una carne asada. It turns out this soul-feeding food is one of the OG ancestral foods that have been used by our people for thousands of years. Ahí les va un poco de historia:

The Mexica introduced the world to the “fruit of the Earth.”

In Náhuatl, the word for nopal translates to “fruit of the Earth.” I don’t know what the Náhuatl word for “bomb-delicioso” is, but in my opinion, that should also be the name for nopales. And the Aztecs must have felt this way too because one of the most famous cities in the Aztec Empire – Tenochtitlán, the empire’s religious center – was named “prickly pear on a rock.” Iconic.

According to legend, the city was built after an Azteca priest spotted an eagle perched on a nopal plant, carrying a snake in its mouth. The priest, obviously extremadamente blown away by this, ran back to his village just so he could gather everyone to check out this crazy eagle with a snake in its mouth. As they watched, the cactus beneath the eagle grew into an island – eventually becoming Tenochtitlán. I’ll give you 3 seconds to just process that. 1…2…3. Please take more time if you need it. The image of the eagle carrying a snake, its golden talons perched on a nopal growing from a rock, can now be found on the Mexican flag.

Today, we know that the Mexica were right to call nopales the plant of life.

In Mexico, it’s still common to place a handful of nopal flowers in a bath to help relax achy muscles. And nopales are becoming more popular than ever in beauty treatments to help fight aging. But, y’all are too beautiful to be needing them for that, so let’s talk about what’s important — eating them.

There are so many ways you can mix this iconic ingredient into your meals.

We should all be eating our green foods. Your tía, your abuela, your primo, everyone…except your ex. Your ex can eat basura. I said what I said. But, nopalitos are especially important. These tenacious desert plants can be eaten raw, sautéed, pickled, grilled – they’re even used as pizza toppings. Though for some people, nopales – with their spines and texture – can be intimidating. After cutting off the spines and edges, and cutting them into slices, they will bleed a clear slime. But boiling for 20 minutes will take care of that. Or make it even easier on yourself and avoid espinas by buying them all ready-to-go from the brand we all know and love, DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos.

Check it out, I’m even gonna hook it up with that good-good, because if you’re looking for ways to enjoy your nopales, I got’chu with some starter links to recipes: Hibiscus and Nopal Tacos, Nopal Tostadas, Roasted Nopales con Mole, and Lentil Soup con Nopales.  One of my personal favorite ways to eat them is in a beautiful Cactus Salad, full of color and flavor. Trust. I rate these dishes 10 out of 10, guaranteed to make your babas drip, and when you eat this ensalada de nopalitos, you will remember even your ancestors were dripping babas over this waaay before it was cool to eat plant-based foods.

So let’s give the poderoso nopal the spotlight it deserves by adding it to our shopping lists more often.

Rich in history, mythology, and practical uses, the nopal’s enduring popularity is a testament to its versatility. It’s time to give this classic ingredient the respect it deserves and recognize just how chingon our ancestors are for making nopales fire before plantbase foods were even trending.

Next time you’re at the supermercado, do your ancestors proud and add nopales to your shopping cart by picking up a jar of DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos. This easy-to-use food will definitely give you a major boost of pride in your roots. Viva los nopalitos bay-beh!

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Congresswoman Norma Torres Is In A Twitter Feud With El Salvador’s President And Neither One Is Backing Down

Things That Matter

Congresswoman Norma Torres Is In A Twitter Feud With El Salvador’s President And Neither One Is Backing Down

Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) has been one of the most outspoken critics on the root causes of migration to the United States, calling out corruption and neglect from Central American nations.

The Guatemala-born Congresswoman said the issue stemmed from failing to address the root causes of immigration in the Northern Triangle. While she claimed that the Obama administration made strides in Central American intervention (years later, it has little to show for), she did address the many reasons why people from the region made the difficult decision to leave their countries. 

“The poverty we see here in our own communities, you know, in comparison to the poverty that has been caused by climate change issues, severe droughts in the region, the fact that there is no infrastructure for the indigenous populations,” Torres told NPR in 2019

She continues to lay blame on those same nations and she’s making some apparent enemies in the process, including El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele who has been engaged in a bit of a Twitter feud with the congresswoman.

The California congresswoman is feeling the heat from El Salvador’s president.

President Nayib Bukele and Democratic Rep. Norma Torres have been exchanging very undiplomatic barbs on Twitter for the last few weeks. And now, El Salvador’s president is urging voters in a California congressional district to vote out its U.S. representative in the latest back-and-forth spat between the Central American head of state and one of Congress’ most vocal critics of the region’s leaders.

Torres, who was born in Guatemala, took the first show when she retweeted a disturbing video released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showing two toddler sisters being dropped into the U.S. by smugglers straddling a 14-foot-tall border wall. The two were picked up by U.S. agents and given medical attention.

Along with a link to the video, Torres tweeted — in Spanish — that the incident is “a great shame for the governments of #Guatemala #Honduras #ElSalvador their compatriots deserve governments that are truly committed to fighting corruption and narco[trafficking]!”

Well, her tweet didn’t sit well with the president.

El Salvador’s Bukele, an avid Twitter user, hit back fast with his own Spanish-language tweet. “Look ma’am, did you read that the children are from ECUADOR and not from EL SALVADOR? Also, this happened on the border of Mexico with the United States. What does El Salvador have to do with this?”

The Salvadoran president then told Torres that she should buy some glasses with a portion of her “financier’s checks.”

But Bukele, at 39 the youngest president in Latin America, is extremely popular. He is often seen wearing a backward baseball cap and sports clothes, and his Nuevas Ideas (New Ideas) party won big in last month’s legislative elections, taking control of the national legislature.

Torres, one of Bukele’s leading critics, kept up the tweet for tweet — this time in English — calling the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border the result of “narcissistic dictators like you interested in being ‘cool’ while people flee by the 1000s & die by the 100s.”

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