Historical And Contemporary Aspects Of Food And Culture In America And The Influence Of Cuban Cuisine

1392 words - 6 pages

Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of various foods ranging from foods brought to the region by European colonizers, to those from the cuisine of African, Chinese, and Indian immigrants to the region. Original Caribbean foods are said to be those of the Carib, Arawak, and Taino tribes (Miller, Vandome, McBrewster, 2010). Common foods in the region include pork, goat, and fish, cassava, rice, various types of beans. Fresh fruits grown in the region such as Guava, and Papaya are also a favorite. The Caribbean region consists of several islands and countries. This paper seeks to specifically study cuisine from Cuba and its influence on food and culture in America.
Geographic Overview,
Cuba is a large island located west of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and South of the United States and the Bahamas. The terrain is flat with gently rolling plains, and has hills and mountains of up to 6,000 ft in the South East and South Central region (U.S Department of State, 2011). The area’s climate is tropical, moderated by hurricane, dry and rainy seasons. Cuba has an estimated population of 11,184,023.
Brief History and Culture
When Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, the Island was inhabited by Arawak Indians. Spaniards later established settlements in the area to make use of the Havana Habour that was an excellent transit point to and from Spain. Africans were brought in as slaves to work in Cuba’s sugarcane plantations. Cubans attained independence from Spanish rule in 1898, under a treaty that made Cuba an independent nation under US protection. But political turmoil and violent uprising characterized the nation. Fidel Castro began a revolution that saw him take over power from Fulgencio Baptista in 1959 (U.S Department of State, 2011). Many Cubans fled their country into the United States due to harsh economic conditions following a suspension of trade between Cuba and its main trade partner the Soviet Union. A breakdown in trade relations between the two countries led to rationing of food, gasoline, and electricity, causing dissent amongst the people who wanted political and economic freedom.
Cuban culture is a mix of various influences drawn from the different races and sub-cultures present in Cuban society. It exists within the borders of the Cuban republic and abroad. Cubans have made great contribution in Music, the arts, literature as well as athletics (Luis, 2001).
Food Habits
Cuban cuisine fuses Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences to create recipes unique to this tropical Caribbean country. Cubans use fresh ingredients with the exception of dried spices, and the food includes meat, sauces, coffee, desserts, rice, and vegetables. Olive oil is widely used in cooking, and all items of food are brought to the table at the same time, unlike in other cultures. Dessert is however served later. Cubans use healthy cooking methods and rarely is food deep fried. Fresh meats are cooked for a long time over low flames, especially in...

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