Friday, October 24, 2014

Colonial Mexico City Through the Lens of Food

Nopalitos with tomatoes and onions, this and other recipes below
In colonial Mexico City indigenous women gradually shaped the cookery and preferences of Iberian owned homes and eateries. This happened despite the attempt of Iberian born wives to teach their Indian cooks how to prepare meals according to Spanish culinary styles. Spanish women gradually learned cost saving methods from their domestic servants learning that their meals “turned out much cheaper [and easier] to feed everyone” in a large household. The culinary and economic savvy of Indigenous women, some free and some enslaved, resulted in the transformation that occurred in the diet of new arrivals from Europe. 

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pop Ups Restaurants in 1960s Brooklyn

Panamanian Patties, this and other recipes below 

Pop up restaurants are nothing new. In the 1960s popup restaurants or “paid parties” in Brooklyn to earn rent money had been a “big deal” recalls George Priestly, a sociologist who conducted about 60 interviews with Panamanian immigrants to the United States. Panamanian emigrants loved paid parties because they “enlarged [their] contact with other folk” who showed them the ropes. Priestly recalls going with Charlie Boogaloo who knew all of the best spots and all of the people that ran them. “He knew seven different places and we would just go from house to house paying a couple of dollars, eating, and then go back to our party or stay there.” Different house parties had different kinds of food. African American homes usually served up southern food. At an Afro-Panamanian home, there would be West Indian meat patties and rice and peas, chicken, fried plantains, potato salad, and Central American tamales.

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Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

Jamaican Pattie Recipe: [Watch Now 3 min 28 sec]

Veggie Patties Recipe:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Give Them the Pie Treatment

Photo courtesy of

As a graduate student I did archival research at the AGCA (national archives in Guatemala) in Guatemala City in 1997. After a long day working in the archives, I cooked and relaxed in my Guatemalan Kitchen. One particular archivist could be a real drag to deal with. One night while in the kitchen I heard a sermon on cassette about treating difficult people with kindness. The message inspired me to make a pineapple pie for the archivist. Most them received insufficient compensation and appreciation for their work . So I brought a pie to them which caught the archivist by surprise. They felt valued and showed their gratitude. In addition, my remaining months working in the archives went smooth and I always had enough documents to keep me busy.

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Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

My Book on Guatemala:

Pineapple Pie Recipe:

Good Food’s Pie-Cast Chef Rick Bayless’ Peach Pie:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Molasses and the Spanish American War

Vitamin rich chocolate molasses smoothie, this and other recipes below
During the Spanish American War, the U.S. military seized Puerto Rico in 1898 leading to less expensive Puerto Rican molasses flooding U.S. markets thereafter. Sugar is full of empty calories while molasses is rich in minerals and vitamins. For instance, two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses provides 13.3% of the daily recommended value for iron, 14.0% of the daily recommended value for copper, 18.0% of the daily recommended value for manganese, and 9.7% of the daily recommended value for potassium. Molasses is also high in calcium, a necessity for strong bones and teeth, blood clotting, and the transmission of nerve impulses to and from the brain. Calcium also removes toxins from the colon, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer. Molasses is an excellent source of copper which helps in the healthy development of bone and connective tissue. Manganese-rich molasses is essential to the healthy functioning of the nervous system and contains potassium that assists in proper muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Finally, molasses is rich in vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, and vitamin E. Here is a related recipe.

Chocolate Molasses Smoothie Recipe

2 cups vanilla soy milk
2 tsp tablespoon coco or carob powder
1 scoop protein powder
1 diced frozen banana
3 tablespoon blackstrap molasses or sweeten to taste
2 tablespoon ground flax seeds 


Blend all the ingredients on high speed until smooth. Serves 2

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Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

Molasses and Atlantic Foodways Series:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Inca Food PreservationTechnology

Peruvian Olluquito con Charqui, this and other recipes below
In the Indigenous societies of the Andes, women planted and harvested the fields and prepared the food. Men hunted animals and raised like stock including alpaca and llama. The women would slaughter the animals and prepare it for eating. Pre-Columbian Inca women developed dishes using a cured, slated, and dehydrated meat they called charqui. The English word Jerky comes from the Andean word charqui. The women would salt cure the meat and dry it in the hot sun and freezing cold for about a month and thereby increasing its longevity. From the Jerked meat Andean women made a soup called Olluquito con charqui made with ollucos (a yellow Andean tuber), traditionally women used slices of jerked alpaca and llama, but today its more often made with jerked beef, and served with rice. Jerking meat (salting and drying it in the sun) to conserve it has a long history and that extends around the globe. 

Olluquito con Charqui Recipe


4 tsp oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
¼ kg “charqui” or jerked meat/vegan substitute
1 kg ollucos chopped in fine strips
½ cup onion
Chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
ground chilly

Shred and fry pre-soaked/hydrated Charqui. After browned, remove, and in the same oil fry onions, garlic, chilly and cayenne pepper. Add ollucos (soaked for 1 hour with salt). Cover the pot and cook at low heat. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with white rice. Makes eight servings

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Peruvian Foodways and Recipes:

Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

BBC Radio Food Program on Preserving Meat:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stumping and Eating in Maryland

Making lump meat crab cake at Faidleys in Lexinton, Market,  recipe below
Lots of politicians around the country are out stumping and eating as election days draw close. When it comes to stumping and eating in Maryland "its all about crabs," says Frank Kelly III, whose father Frank Kelly Jr had been a State Senator in Maryland.  In Maryland those seeking public office do so  around plates of soft-shell crabs, crab legs, crabs cakes, and crab soup. Faidleys Seafood in Lexington Market has been one of the go to places for crab cakes.

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Series Stumping And Eating And Related Recipes:

Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

Maryland jumbo Lump meat crab cake recipe:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tavern Cooking Techniques From the 1800s Part 3 of 3

David Teniers II’s 1658 Tavern Scene
Food Prof Frederick Douglass Opie visits the Compass Inn, a Pennsylvania tavern set in the 1800s

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1800 Food Stories with Recipes:

Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

Compass Inn Museum:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tavern Cooking Techniques From the 1800s Part 2 of 3

Tavern scene, perhaps circa 1800s
Food Prof Frederick Douglass Opie visits the Compass Inn, a Pennsylvania tavern set in the 1800s

1800 Food Stories with Recipes:

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Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

Compass Inn Museum:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Culinary Impact of 1492

Sancocho soup from Spain (and very popular in the Spanish speaking Caribbean), recipes 
In honor of Columbus Day and Hispanic history month let's take a look at the significance of 1492. The Moors introduced a number of spices and herbs obtained through the Arabian spice trade into Spanish cookery during their 800 year rule there after 711. Before the Spanish re-conquest of the Peninsula in the late 1400s, the Moorish preference for cooking with liberal amounts of onions, garlic, and buttermilk dominated the Iberian world. Moorish cooks used cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, paprika, sesame seed, black pepper, cloves, and coriander seeds, among other spices. After 1492, the Spanish scramble to exploit the Americas led to introductions of additional foreign ingredients into Spanish kitchens. Thus fusion has always been apart of Spanish cuisine. 

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Hispanic History Month Series with Recipes:

Traditional Sancocho Recipe:

Vegan Sancocho Recipe: