“New World’s Spicy Chocolate,” in Megan Elias’s “Growth of American Civilization, 1600-1877”

Ingredients

4 cups milk

1/4 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. chili powder

pinch of nutmeg

optional toppings: whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and/or chocolate shavings

Method

Preparation 

Mix all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it boils or bubbles, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and serve with any of the optional toppings I listed.

“Chilies, Chocolate and Race in New Spain”

I couldn’t think of a better recipe for this reading, not just because of the title, but because of what the ingredients chocolate and chilies represented for the natives in New Spain at the time. The Colombian Exchange brought about many changes to the culinary arts. Spaniards and Creoles were distinguished by society according to what they ate. As a result, Spaniards and Natives tried to stick to their culture as much as possible; however, this did not stop the inevitable combination of their individual lifestyles. Change was brought about by thriving culture in New Spain, as well as changes in Spain. Creoles, during this transformation, established their own status with flourishing native innovations.

One of the most prestigious products for the natives of this period was chocolate. This recipe combines Old World spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, which were already adopted by the European culture from India, as well as New World produce like chocolate and chilies. When Spaniards arrived to the  Americas they where surveying food that might serve as substitutes for the spices they hoped to find. They found chocolate beans and they ground them over a warm grind stone and made into hot drinks. This was the Natives prestigious version of chocolate. The chocolate in this recipe differs from that, but is incorporated to represent that prestige in New Spain. Chile was a local vegetable that was also used in a variety of Creole dishes. Milk and sugar was imported from the Spaniards. Milk was brought with them, and sugar was also brought with the exchange but it was being grown in the Caribbean. This recipe represents the culture of New Spain that not only adopted Old World cuisine, but also had native innovations which established their status.

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Rice Pudding, in Megan Elias’s “Growth of American Civilization, 1600-1877”

Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice
  • ½ gallon of milk
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • crushed almonds (optional)
  • ground cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • cloves (optional)

Directions:

  1. Bring ½ gallon of milk to a boil in a pot.
  2. Add 1 cup of rice into the boiling milk and mix frequently. Do not let the rice take to the bottom!
  3. Once the rice is cooked, reduce the heat to a low and add ½ cup of sugar and stir it till the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Add cinnamon to your taste and cloves, which are both optional.
  5. Top it off with some crushed almonds if you like!

This recipe represents the author’s main point in that it shows a more diverse type of food which other cultures may have had to adapt to. The article demonstrates how many different ingredients, spices and flavors were shared by the Spanish and the Central American cultures, bringing them as one. A lot of these spices and flavors had evolved and were passed on to the newer generations, many of which are still used till this day. For instance, in the recipe above it uses rice, sugar and almond which come mainly from India. The other cultures, such as the westernmost point of Muslims’ had to try to adapt to these different crops. In addition, the western Muslims transformed these ingredients into a rather sophisticated cooking. However, it is clear that rice and sugar is especially common to present day cultures. All in all, the author’s main point is that a lot of the commonly used spices nowadays actually needed people to adapt to it first, and slowly began to evolve as it was passed on.

The Spaniards who followed the leaders in the Spanish conquests of America, Mexico, and Peru, food meant health, status, race, and religion. The wealthy ones actually used rice, sugar and almonds, as the ingredient above uses, which was transported from the East. In other cases, almonds, cinnamon and cloves were used in a very famous Mexican dish called mole poblano, which for them balanced pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica and early modern Spain cooking. The recipe above also uses milk, which in Spain represented the height of modernity and difficulty. However, milk was outside of their everyday ingredients. Many of these ingredients were slowly brought in due to the new world and became acceptable to many Spanish diets. Nevertheless, they did not change their own beliefs of what was considered to be “higher” in society, which still separated them apart from one another, such as the Native Indians.

In addition, this dish was adopted into the Mexican culture with a similar dish called Empanadas de Arroz con Leche, also known as rice pudding turnovers. This recipe consists of almost the same ingredients as above with a few modifications. For instance, the rice pudding turnover also uses flour tortillas and vegetable oil. The flour tortillas, once again, were used in mole poblano. The Spaniards were very fond of tortillas. Tortillas were brought about by the native women because it was the only manner they knew to prepare wheat. They were eaten with many side dishes and fillings made from local vegetables. However, we see that instead of the fillings being made of vegetables, the rice pudding turnovers are filled with flavorful rice. The Native Americans typically planted corn as opposed to wheat, partially because it was expensive to mill and bake. Furthermore, Peruvian dishes contained similar ingredients to mole, which also confirms the tie between the Spanish foods and the Creoles of New Spain. A typical recipe for chicken used oil. Another recipe for chicken would be to flour it and then fry it in oil. We see that rice pudding, which began as a mixture of South Asian, Arabian and European dishes, ultimately evolved into the culture of Mexico.

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Chunos, in Babette Audant’s Culinary Improvisation Course

Chuños were a failed experiment, but a worthwhile failure. These air-dried potatoes, a Peruvian staple, cannot be prepared in a freezer, at least not in one week. This was the assignment:

Week 7 – Foods in History/Food as History – you will be learning about foods/processing techniques that changed the course of history. We will discuss the role of historical foods such as quinine (which you will taste) in class. Later, Michael Krondl will be speaking about working with historical recipes.

You will also be sent home with a potato in a Ziploc bag. Yup, you read that correctly. You will take the potato home, freeze it overnight, defrost it during the day, re-freeze at night. Repeat all week and bring the results to class on November 6th. The links below will help explain what you are trying to do…this is one historical technique that may not have a role in the modern world.

Please document the process by taking a photo each day and posting the results online at the end of the week, or day by day, and label the photos as Day1, Day2, etc.

Read a short article about chuños

View a video about chuños

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