Latin American Cooking

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<ul><li><p>.mil</p></li><li><p>Digitized by the Internet Archive</p><p>in 2010</p><p></p></li><li><p>'Round the world cooking library</p><p>Latin American Cooking</p><p>A treasury of recipes from the South American</p><p>countries, Mexico and the Caribbean</p><p>Recipe contributions by</p><p>Susan Bensusan,</p><p>International authority</p><p>on Latin American Cooking</p><p>'Round theWorld Books InoNewYork Toronto</p></li><li><p>. :-; ."_?.;: 7</p><p>^mancDorfi"(Cuftbeanl. Hennena F. LeQwsndeNeunilk. St Klkr t Frennoonrt. : E-. ;: E-_r E._ _-. L;-_-'Ckue :. Patricia Marrm r _T</p><p>.</p><p>-</p><p>:..-&gt;._ -"-_."_ rT"-. E^</p><p>! .</p><p>Essamve adnor TorvasEs</p><p>Ccva'pfaoOO Hfmlr m^n At Hfijiii tmanifalll:</p><p>-. ?: r- E; E. v- -.-_-----</p><p>OeSlED SOQ GAJ1W1DE5 ft rfmfTiimi iiu YHELmbmS Sin Mil , AlllSfc''lfMlinCrsaisdin MejerPas B.V- Amsterdam. The Nfthrrtairis</p><p>pe inc_ Lancaster. Pennsyh</p><p>Contents</p><p>of LatinMexico and</p><p>fcl I aribbeari</p><p>12 Entrees</p><p>I -2iad&gt;28 Sawxs31 Tortilla*</p><p>35 Rice and corn dishes4" Fish dishes52 Meat dishesM Poultrv and same dishes</p><p>..table dishes79 Desserts-* Bi--. -__-.-</p><p>J4 \iphaberical index" Index b&gt; nne of dish</p><p>C up measures in this book</p></li><li><p>The food of Latin America,</p><p>Mexico and the Caribbean</p><p>Who can think of Latin Americaand not immediately envisionbright flowers and flags: hearsoft-strummed guitars and deep,musical voices: see dark-eyedsenoritas in bright swirling skirts</p><p>dancing in the plaza or walkingsedately through a paseo? Yetcolor and romance are not theonly qualities of life in LatinAmerica. Look south ofourborders and you will discover awhole world ofcooking which,through the centuries, hasdeveloped the idea that even thesimplest foods can bestimulating and satisfying aswell as basically nutritious andeconomical. Here, the Indians ofthe ancient Mayan and Azteccivilizations perfected asophisticated cuisine thousandsof years before the arrival of thefirst Europeans on their shores.The natural plenty ofthe landswas skillfully enhanced andcultivated to provide a rich,spicy, sound diet for the peoplewho lived in the vast areasextending through Mexico andCentral America manythousands of miles to thesouthernmost tip of thepeninsula of South America.Corn, beans, tomatoes,potatoes, squash, peppers,</p><p>chocolate, bananas andavocados, as well as exotic fishand fruits, were the basis of thegreat Indian cuisines, and theirintensive cultivation helpeddevelop new and better strainsof all the native vegetables. Incertain areas wild game was</p><p>plentiful. And in themountainous countries aprocess of freeze-drying was inuse from the very origins of lifeon the continent.</p><p>When the first Spaniards arrivedin Mexico, they were treated tothe sight, and taste, of royalbanquets literally "fit for thegods.' They soon discoveredthat one of the great riches ofthe New World was its naturalbounty.There exist, today, descriptionsof the feasts prepared for theInca. the head of that great stateon the West Coast of SouthAmerica, where as many as fivehundred different dishes wereprepared for his choice ! This iseven more incredible when oneconsiders that there were almostno fresh meats as we knowthem, nor any fats or dairyproducts, since domesticatedanimals were such a rarity.Most of the food was boiled,steamed or basted - frying wasvirtually unknown. For greatfiestas, the barbecue wasdeveloped. The clam-bakewhich we associate so much withNew England is actually anadaptation of this most ancientIndian form of cooking. A largehole is dug in the ground and afire built in it. When the fire hasdiminished to a huge bed of hotcoals, the pit is lined with leaves.then food is set in it - a wholeanimal in its own hide is added.( Barbecue means, quite literally,from 'beard to tail.")Vegetables and pots of stews etc.</p></li><li><p>Fish is dried in the sun and soldin the open market at Tempicowhere it is made into suchdelk ions dishes as the salt codmold on page 46.</p><p>An infinite variety ofgroundchilies. dried heans and cornmealform the foundation ofmanyLatin American dishes.</p><p>are placed around, then all iscovered with more leaves, moremud and more fire and left tobake for the required time. Thepit is broken open and thedeliciously steamed food servedto all. This method is still usedtoday, not only for the NewEngland clam bake, but theHawaiian luau and the famedbig barbecues ofour ownsouthwest. There is much we canadapt from the cooking of theancient Indians.With the coming of theEuropeans, notably the Spanishand the Portuguese, new foodsentered the daily diet. TheSpanish brought beef, lambs,pigs, goats and chickens.And the Indians adopted themand quickly learned to husbandthem, until a hundred head ofcattle soon became a thousand,to populate the Argentinegrasslands. A handful of horses,abandoned during some of theinterminable battles forconquest were left to roam the</p><p>pampas and became great herdsofw ild horses in a very shorttime.</p><p>It is difficult to imagine howquickly the interchange offoodstuffs was affected betweenthe Old World and the New.Who can think of Italiancooking without tomatoes? Yet,tomatoes were actually</p><p>unknown in Europe until thefirst explorers brought themback in the fifteenth andsixteenth centuries. Potatoes,</p><p>too. that great staple of Central</p><p>Europe, had their origins inSouth America. Conversely, it ishard to imagine the Argentinewithout cattle. Spices, too,became an important exchange.The Indians had learned to usethe marvellous spices- thepeppers, the herbs and the barks- in a way hitherto unknown tothe Europeans, and they foundthe subtle blendings a greatdelight to their palates.</p><p>(Cinnamon is the secretingredient ofmany a SouthAmerican specialty.) Thedevelopment of spices became ahighly profitable part of thewhole European-LatinAmerican trade system andremains so today.We have mentioned that theIndians in the mountaincountries had perfected a systemof freeze-drying that was reallyunique. They would takepotatoes, for example, to thehigh mountains where the dry,freezing temperatures wouldquite literally Treeze-dry' themfor future use. Preserving in</p><p>spices was also common. Andwhen the Spanish added onionsand garlic to the Indianfoodlore, many new ways ofpreparing and preserving foodcame into everyday use.One of the greatest additions tothe basic Indian diet was that offats and dairy products. Withfat, it was now possible to fry.</p><p>Though the ancient methodsstill dominate most Latincooking, fats broadened notonly the diet, but methods of</p></li><li><p>Families from Mexico City gettogether to enjoy a riverboattit nic on l lie Homing gardens of\ochinilco. ' lop</p><p>i</p><p>Shoppers stroll through the street</p><p>markets in Mexico, (below.</p><p>In every village there is a street</p><p>vendor selling tortilleas to be</p><p>filledwith hot and coldstuffings top right i</p><p>A tourist slops in buy a small gillfrom the children in Mexico.</p><p>Exoticfruits Jill the streets with</p><p>fresh sweetness and color.</p><p>(. hildren cam water tram the</p><p>communal well in a village idMexico (right below I.</p></li><li><p>cooking as well.When the Portuguese broughtslaves from Africa, a new notewas added to the cuisines. TheAfricans, finding thetemperature and climate ofBrazil much like their own.quickly brought such thingsfrom the old world as palms,which thrived in Brazil, givingoil or 'dende' as it is calledtoday. Coconuts, too. becamean important factor. But, mostimportant was the African skillat preparing and presentingfood in an attractive manner.Since few of the Portuguesewomen who lived on the bigestates to which the blacks werebrought knew much at all aboutcooking, the Africans quicklytook charge. There is a saying,still popular in Brazil, 'theblacker the cook, the better thecooking", and we find exoticAfrican interpretations of thebasic Indian-with-Portuguesecuisine throughout Brazil. In allthe best restaurants, black menand women still run thekitchens.</p><p>As other Europeans came toexplore and conquer the richNew World, the cuisines becameeven more diverse andcosmopolitan. Thus, we find theFrench touch in Haiti and partsof the West Indies. The Dutchdid much to develop the 'SpiceIslands'; even the British, not</p><p>generally known for theirinterest in cookery, added a bit.In later history, the Germansbrought beer; the Italians,</p><p>pasta ; vineyards were plantedfor the development of wines -each country has made itscontribution until today. LatinAmerica boasts an amazingamalgam of the cuisines of theworld - and offers the NorthAmerican homemaker a richsource of ideas for brighteningher own daily fare. In these</p><p>times of soaring food costs, it iswell to look south of the borderfor interesting and economicalways to extend the family foodbudget.</p><p>Latin American cooking doesnot require a long list of exoticand expensive spices andfoodstuffs. Most of it is basedon foods readily available in thegreat supermarkets all over theUnited States. The few rareingredients which might beincluded in a particular recipeare generally available from alocal specialty or gourmet shop.And as interest in LatinAmerican cooking increases,more and more of the basicsappear on our market shelves.The huge number of NorthAmericans who visit Mexicoeach year have brought back suchan interest in the somewhat fieryMexican cooking, that severalstores now carry a complete lineof Mexican chiles, pepper,'moles' (sauces). Tortillas arereadily available in cans or fromthe deep freeze.It is interesting to note, that as</p><p>one travels through LatinAmerica, the native cooking stillrelies heavily on the ancient</p></li><li><p>techniques and uses the mostreadily available foods. Fromthe centuries of invasions,</p><p>attempted conquests and trades,the Latin Americans have takenonly those foods and techniqueswhich were readily assimilatedinto their own basic culture.</p><p>They have borrowed heavily ofthose things which augmenttheir own requirements andassimilate them well. But notewell, that the most successful</p><p>recipes are not just duplicates ofold-country ones, but adaptionsto the native custom - we mightsay they have taken the oldcuisines 'with a pinch of salt." Infollowing these recipes, the same</p><p>principle may apply. Use yourimagination if the local marketcannot supply you with aparticular ingredient. And don'thesitate to use the 'convenience"</p><p>foods, if they suit your needsbetter. Ground onions andgarlic, while not quite so sweetas fresh, are much simpler to use- and chili sauce in bottles maybe sharpened with the additionof a little more chili, or a dash ofhot sauce, to simulate the muchmore time consumingpreparation of sauces of thenative countries. Have you everconsidered basting pork withpeanut butter, thinned with alittle milk? Or using a big.Halloween-type pumpkin,seeded and buttered, then slowlybaked whole as the container(and gravy thickener) for astew? Explore and discover thelittle touches and techniques, so</p><p>typically Latin American, whichyou can easily adapt to yourown table.</p><p>Geography, quite naturally, hasan enormous influence on the</p><p>cuisine of any country. Andsince much of the populatedportion of Latin America lies inthe warm areas, eating habits</p><p>have been heavily influenced byclimate, as well. Add to this thedominance ofconquerors fromthe Mediterranean areas ofEurope and a pattern of eatingemerges which incorporates the'siesta' hours of Spain with thebig appetites of the agrarian</p><p>workers and places food, itspreparation and consumption,as an extremely important factorin the lifestyle of all LatinAmericans. At high altitudes,the boiling point of liquids islower, so food never seems ashot as it does at sea-level. In thecoastal areas, there is a</p><p>dominance ofsea food</p><p>-</p><p>marvellous fresh fish, succulentcrustaceans - all prepared in adozen tantalizing ways. Fromthe lush tropic jungles comefruits - in number far beyondthe dozen or so of our localmarkets. (Many even havenames for which we have notranslation.) And in the rollinggrasslands country, there ismeat.</p><p>Meat is served at nearly everymeal. But the meat is not theforce-fattened prime beef of ourstockyards, so the ways ofcooking the somewhat tougher,less rich cuts are manv and</p><p>varied. Each area in LatinAmerica, therefore, hasdeveloped singular dishes andways to present its food.Wherever you go. food isoffered. It is a mark of theinstinctive Latin hospitality, an</p><p>item of major importance inLatin life. And it is alwayspresented with color, charm anduraeiousness.</p></li><li><p>Wherever there isfood, there is</p><p>always a small crowd to buy it,sell it or simply to eat it.</p><p>A gaitcho watches carefully overan assortment ofmeats roasting</p><p>for anasado, the classicArgentinian feast.</p></li><li><p>Iii Dutch Guyana, housewivesbargain over theprice oj bona,plantains,fruit and vegetablestop left I</p><p>Refreshing cold drinks arc always</p><p>welcome in the steaming hotBarbados, left below i</p><p>A I enezueian shop windowdisplays a dazzling array oj driedfish.</p><p>The chefknows how succulent thepork ii ill be as carves the mealfrom a smilingpiglet.</p><p>pancake of unleavened corn orwheat flour, is the bread of thepeople. It can also be used asplate, spoon, snack, sandwich,and is the base for many, manydishes throughout the country.To the tortillas in the form oftaco. tostada. enchilada,</p><p>quesadilla or whichever way thecook has decided to use themtoday, one must add beans asthe staple of the Mexican diet.And. inevitably, there are chilipeppers in degrees of hotnessand sweetness which defydefinition. Soups, stews andsweets are the other importantingredients of daily fare. In thecoastal areas one finds beautiful</p><p>fish and abundant tropical fruit.With the advent of air freight,these appear daily in the majormarkets ofMexico City. too.Whatever the meal, whateverthe season, every meal inMexico is served with color andmusic - and whenever possible -with good company to add to itsenjoyment.</p><p>The great Inca Empire, whichincluded much of present-dayPeru. Ecuador, a large part ofChile and Bolivia and thenorthwestern part of Argentina,had a tremendous influence onthe cooking of those countries,which is still evident today.Potatoes are the diet staple - butpotatoes prepared in a variety ofways almost unknown in theUnited States. Sometimes theyare cooked with "aji" - a kind ofhot pepper and herbs and</p><p>spices; often they are swathed ina rich cream or cheese sauce andfor special occasions they aremolded with cheese, eggs, olives,prawns or corn. In themountains, the "pachamanca' isa gaudy barbecue : on thecoastal areas, charcoal cookery-</p><p>replaces the earth oven.</p><p>'Antichucos' are the great street</p><p>food - morsels of beef heartbarbecued on a skewer. Fishdishes are common. "Seviche" is</p><p>a tender white fish "cooked" inspices and citrus, similar to the'poisson crud' of Tahiti. Prawnsare popular. Peanuts andbananas are vital in northernPeru and Ecuador.</p><p>LtllMlllM</p></li><li><p>Most Brazilian dishes arePortuguese in origin. Not somuch because the Portuguesewere the first non-aboriginal</p><p>cooks in the country, butbecause the Portuguese trade</p><p>controls were so strict that only</p><p>Portuguese products were addedto the already abundant nativediet. The Africans imported towork on the big plantationscontributed their own magic,and the Germans who settledthe Southern states, the Italians</p><p>and the French who followedhave all left their touch on theBrazilian cuisine. But the most</p><p>impressive t...</p></li></ul>