If Spanish Speaking Countries celebrated Thanksgiving (2)


What would they eat if they celebrated?


With Thanksgiving in the United States around the corner, many people gear up for their belly busting feast.  No other country celebrates Thanksgiving other than Canada and the United States.  But if other countries also celebrated it, what would be their equivalent of the stereotypical turkey feast? We found special elaborate dishes from the Spanish speaking world that could match up to the belt loosening meal.





Mole: If Mexicans celebrated this day, they would make mole.  There are many different types of mole that vary by the region.  With more than 20 ingredients all the way from peppers to chocolate, mole has a reputation of being a difficult dish to make. The most popular story about its origins says that in the 16th Century, nuns at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla discovered that the Archbishop was coming for a visit.  The nuns went into panic mode because they had almost nothing to prepare.  With nothing to serve, the nuns prayed for some inspiration.  Then they started chopping, mixing, and roasting whatever they had.  After the concoction boiled for hours and reduced, they served it to the Archbishop over some turkey.  When he asked for the name of the dish, the nuns replied it was mole which means “mix”.





While Spain is more than paella, this is a complicated dish that hails from the country. Rice cultivation began in Moorish Spain around the 10th century.  Because of that, the people in the Valencian region made casseroles with rice, fish, and other spices.  This established the custom of eating rice in Spain and led to rice becoming a staple of the country and paella evolved from there to what it is today.  In the dish you will find white rice, white beans, saffron, rosemary, seafood, vegetable, chicken, and also artichokes to name a few.  If you cook it the traditional Valencian way, you will need to cook it over an open fire of orange and pine branches along with the pine cones.  The smoke from the fire infuses in the paella with the aromatic smoke from the burning wood.





Fiambre: It is a traditional Guatemalan dish that you will find every year for the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos).  Over 50 ingredients are part of this salad.  It is famous for having a lot of meats making it the “meat lovers pizza” of the salad world.  The salad started from people taking dead family members their favorite foods for the Day of the Dead.  Somehow the different families in the cemeteries started mixing the food that they took and the result was the tradition of Fiambre.  Some of the ingredients you can find in Fiambre are sausages, onion, olives, chicken, beets, and also corn.




Ropa Vieja: It is shredded meat cooked with peppers and onions in a tomato and herb gravy that you plate over rice.  Flank steak is the common meat Cubans use to prepare the dish but they also use several different cuts of meat.  The dish means “old clothes” and traces its way back to the middle ages in Spain, in the Canary Islands, to a bean stew.  In these Spanish islands the dish was a way to use leftovers but became its own dish with meat, garbanzo beans, and potatoes.  You find the dish all over the Caribbean in Panamanian and Dominican cuisine along with Cuban as well where ropa vieja is the national dish.




Puchero: If Uruguayans celebrated Thanksgiving, they would make this stew. Like many of the other dishes it traces its origins back to Spain.  There are various versions of the dish through out parts of Colombia, Paraguay, the Phillippines, Argentina, Mexico, and Spain.  The stew is the result of meat  and vegetables boiled in water.  Nevertheless, the one you will find in Uruguay is primarily beef-based and can include potatoes, onion, and squash.  There are also some variations that you will find as well that can have sweet potatoes, carrots, bacon, chorizo, cabbage, eggs, and corn.

If you get tired of the typical Thanksgiving meal offering, try mixing it up with one of these dishes.  Check out these other posts to see what the rest of the Spanish speaking world would eat.  Part1




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