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How 'Latino' is your diet?-In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

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How 'Latino' is your diet?-In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

luckyfatima | Sep 16, 2011 07:43 AM

The growing presence of Latinos in the US has changed the face of modern US cuisine. Chipotle mayonnaise on your burger, mojo sauce with your shrimp, cilantro and jalapeños regular items in your fridge...no matter what your background, you are probably eating a lot of Latino or Latino-inspired items in your regular diet.

Definitely my Texas-transplant family's diet is very hispanicized, or should I say Aztec-ized---although it is less of a new thing in my part of the US (a good 500 years old) but beyond Tejano and Tex-Mex cuisines, in my native Texan city we have also had a great rise in recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America in addition to our very old and well established Mexican American communities. With the recent immigrants, we have had a mushrooming of wonderful food offerings in restaurants, food strucks, and stands. Tortas, tacos, sopes, caldos, pozoles, pupusas, pollos asados, and a great variety of tamales are everywhere. Trucks sell fruit cups and elotes. Our local grocery stores (HEB!) have huge sections filled with dried chiles, and in many stores, a cactus paddle cutter sits and cleans nopales for shoppers to bring home. My childhood neighborhood has push-cart paleteros in addition to ice-cream trucks. People of all backgrounds experiment with nopales and fruits and veg that used to be considered exotic-jicama salads, poblanos, and so on are all more and more mainstream. In my native city, we don't have a heavy presence of Latinos from countries beyond Mexico and Central America. But certainly in other parts of the US there are Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Peruvian, Colombian, and other communities that have changed/are changing the food scene where they have settled in large numbers.

Many families of all backgrounds have Mexican-inspired taco-nights: tortillas of some sort, ground beef cooked with 'taco-seasoning,' plus fixings for build-your-own tacos-pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, shredded yellow cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and so on. Not 'authentic,' but definitely Mexican influenced and so common across the US. Fajitas are totally mainstream (and don't say fajas de arrachera are not 'authentic').

Some people may view items like frozen burritos and so on as an insult to 'authentic' cuisine, but they are also a symbol of how mainstream and integrated Latino foods and flavors are in the US.

So, what about you, what about your part of the US? How Latino is your diet?

I posted this in Food and Media News, but I was inspired to post this query based on this article: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/life...

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