Welcome travelers and foodie lovers to this week’s venture in culture, food and topography. This week we are visiting various regions in South America and loving every bit.
Both North and South America are named after the cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci. During Christopher Columbus’s exploration, it was Amerigo that thought Columbus ventured to a new world and not Asia. Following the Feminine names of regions in Europe and Asia, the newly explored area was named America. Inca, Azteca and Mayan culture were the largest empires in South American history. The Aztecs were a powerful society until Hernando Cortez, a powerful Spaniard military leader, declared war on them. The Aztecs were outmatched by the military modernization. Over 600 years ago the Mayan culture developed until the culture disappeared due to wars and famine. The Inca built their society high in the Andes Mountains and like the Mayan the Inca battled too many wars, thus over utilizing the supplies of the entire society. At this point the majority of South America was ruled and occupied by Spain.
In the old world, many of the South American natives knew how to grow and harvest a large variety of various plants. South American land is as diverse as is its culture. Like Mexico, when European settlers arrived, they incorporated native dishes with their own fare. Like North America, South America is comfortably nestled between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The numerous fruits and fresh fish are a true staple in the Amazonian region. The large mass of Argentina and the long coastline of Chile provide the region with lamb, venison and fresh food from the sea. Peru is known for their llamas and for the over 4,000 varieties of potato and sweet potato. Feijoada, which is a bean, beef and pork stew and is made all over Brazil. One can spend a lifetime exploring the various cuisines and culture of South America. It’s easy to see the love and passion come out in the many cultures and foods of South America.
Many people now have heard stories about the cowboys of North America, but very few people and movies have been made about the cowboys of South America. The Cowboys are named Gauchos and are famous for their horsemanship. Most of South America is mountainous creating topography hard to travel on land. Brazil leads plane manufactures in South America in production due to the size and shipping accessibility. Another great topic is coffee. Columbia is the largest coffee producer in the world. The beans are dried and roasted to bring us morning and late night coffee pleasure. One last cultural that is a must when visiting South America is to make your way to Brazil 46 days before Easter. It’s CARNAVAL! Carnival, or Carnaval is a celebration in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the festival, and although we will not be in that area next year we will have our fellow traveling foody reps reporting and photographing next year.
I like to leave you this week with yet another recipe from one of my books. Around the World in 80 Recipes can be purchased on Kindle or Paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Damien-T.-De-Witte/e/B0080YZEU4.
Have a wonderful week and I look forward to exploring with you.
Serves 10 to 12
- 3 strips of raw bacon
- 2 onions
- 3 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 lb smoked sausage
- 1 lb boneless beef (any cut of meat)
- 1 (14-oz) can stewed tomatoes
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
- 4 cups canned black beans
- salt and pepper
Cut the bacon strips into big pieces. Fry them in a large pot over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring often. Turn the heat down to medium. Cut the onion in half. Peel off the skin and outer layer. Chop both halves into small pieces. Peel the cloves of garlic. Chop them into small pieces. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon in the pot. Stir until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Cut the sausage and beef into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the onions and garlic. Cook until the meat is brown on all sides. Add the stewed tomatoes (with juice), hot water, yellow mustard, and some salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to simmer. Cover the pot.
Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. If it looks too thick, add more water, ¼ cup at a time. Add the black beans (with liquid). Cover the pot, and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve in a bowl.
-Damien – The Traveling Foody