It is currently 11:47 pm on Thursday night and I have 1 page of a Black studies paper that is due tomorrow staring back at me from my laptop computing device. Actually that is a lie… It is not open on my desktop, i.e not really “staring back at me” because I’m writing this blog post instead.
Anyways, I am a little but bummed out I missed out on “World cuisine” tonight at Val for dinner. Not really, but a little. I was, instead, eating a bountiful feast at the home of Religion department chair Maria Heim with my fellow religion majors ( some also write for SHEBOMB!!!) and Biddy Martin. The food was fucking tasty and the company was even better (tastier?). Pie for desert was the highlight for me, as was the bread. I go gluten/grain free pretty much full-time now so tonight was a great cheat meal. Bread is really REALLY good.
World cuisine was on my brain when I saw the sign in val today and because it was Spain I was particularly intrigued. When I see “Spain” and “world” in the same sentence, food is not necessarily my immediate association.
The Iberian conquest of the Atlantic world is something that I am quite familiar with from my exposure to the subject from a religious studies perspective and from a black studies/diaspora studies/slavery-was-some-bs point of view.
In any case, the Spanish and Portuguese exploitation of colonial resources in the “new world” led to a nasty little situation called triangular trade that fucked over much of the Americas and, oh yeah, Africa…..
In any case, besides the transfer of gun, germs, raw materials like wood and stuff, as well as slaves quite a few noms were moving around the world as well.
Here’s a handy reference guide for regional cuisines we love today that wouldn’t exist without the very same trade routes that eventually landed the ancestors of your very own HungryJ on the Sommerset Plantation in the low country of the southern United States.
Until Columbus, the only beans known in the Old World were soybeans and some uncommon species. Other types of bean widely used today—shell, string, kidney, lima, and pea beans—were cultivated by indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Also known as manioc, this starchy root is native to the Amazon region of South America, where Indians cultivated it. As trade between Africa, Europe, and the New World blossomed, cassava gradually became a staple in parts of Africa.
The Aztecs drank a chocolate drink, which intrigued the Spanish when they arrived in Mexico around 1500. The Spaniards introduced chocolate to Europe where it quickly became an exotic luxury. In 1657 a London store began selling chocolate and started a trend. As people gathered to drink chocolate and talk, conversation clubs arose. The Cocoa Tree was the most famous. Chocolate was first manufactured in the U.S. at Milton Lower Mills outside Boston, Mass. In the 1870s the Swiss began making milk chocolate, by adding condensed milk to the formula.
What is known in the U.S. today as corn is actually maize, or was sometimes called Indian corn. In England, “corn” meant wheat, while in Scotland and Ireland it referred to oats. Indians cultivated several varieties of corn—white, yellow, red, blue, sweet corn, popcorn, and corn to make corn meal. Corn is a mixture of several types of wild grass.
From its origins among the Inca of the Andes Mountains, potato cultivation spread through wide areas of the Americas, where it was often a staple crop. The Spanish introduced it to Europe. The English first began to grow potatoes on a large scale. English settlers brought the potato with them to North America after 1600, thus reintroducing it to the New World. In Europe, the potato became a staple in many areas. Failure of the Irish potato crop in the mid-1800s prompted a massive migration to the Americas.
Early explorers reported seeing Indians smoking tobacco. By the mid-1500s, Spain and Portugal had introduced tobacco to Europe where it gradually became popular. The English began experimenting with the crop in Virginia, which remains a major tobacco producer. Tobacco use and production have circled the globe. The Middle East, Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Indonesia, and the Philippines all produce tobacco. Cuba and Puerto Rico also grow tobacco and have become important cigar manufacturers.
The Incas and the Aztecs raised tomatoes. Officially a fruit, the tomato, sometimes called the “love apple,” did not catch on at once in Europe. Many people believed tomatoes were poisonous. Around 1800, the tomato was reintroduced to the Americas when Europeans brought it to the U.S., where it is the third most common vegetable crop today.
So it appears that every cloud does indeed have silver and sometimes delicious lining. I’m still not sure how I feel about celebrating Columbus day, but for now Spain is off the hook. In the words of the sage, Tupac Shakur: “I Ain’t mad at ya”
Now for some soft tissue mobility work and a hot shower (sore as hell from lifting this week) before a few hours of rest and more paper writing.