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Latin America. Travis Chapman Emily Cecil. Region. Latin America consist mainly of Mexico Central America starts below the Yucatan peninsula and ends at South America Often lumped in with Latin America Regions share a great deal of characteristics with each other. Religion.

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latin america

Latin America

Travis Chapman

Emily Cecil

  • Latin America consist mainly of Mexico
  • Central America starts below the Yucatan peninsula and ends at South America
    • Often lumped in with Latin America
  • Regions share a great deal of characteristics with each other
  • Before Spanish most were of Mayan and Aztec religions
    • Polytheistic
    • Sun god is main god in most ancient culture
      • Other gods also existed which were based on nature
      • Gods were more of a personification
    • Other aspects of religion based on nature
      • Seasons changing
      • Agriculture
  • Spanish missionaries brought Catholicism
    • Slow growth in first 10 years
    • Rapid conversion after the vision of Mary at Guadalupe
      • Nine million converted in 8 years.
    • 75% of Latin America is still Roman Catholic and even more in Central America
    • Influences holidays
  • Some Central Americans still practice ancient Mayan religion
  • Aztec, Mayan, Toltec cultures
      • Depending on point in history and region
    • Started to for 8000BC
    • Golden age in 250 AD
    • Society
      • Agricultural
      • Cities and civilizations
        • Some great monuments and religious cites remain
      • Great Astronomers and mathematicians
  • After Spanish arrived cultured gained some European influence
      • 2/3 Mestizos: Indian and Spanish ancestry
      • Only 1.5% speak ancient language
  • Used to inhabit southwest region of U.S. as main cultural group.
    • Ended during mid 1800’s
    • U.S. government wanted to clear land of natives
      • Usually brutal and inhumane
      • Continued even to the Great Depression
        • Mexicans forced back to Mexico
        • Occurred after a mass emigration from Mexico during
  • Patriarchal.
  • Family is main lively hood
    • Good of family often comes before good of self
  • Mother is often a homemaker
    • Starting to change as women enter work force
          • Especially true in U.S.
  • Boys and girls often raised differently
      • More traditional family structure.
traditional food
Traditional Food
  • Ate indigenous found in the area
    • Depended on the region
  • Commonly eaten:
        • Multiple varieties of chilies
        • Tomatoes
        • Corn: A staple food. Reason for corn tortilla dominance
        • Legumes: many types of beans
        • Game meat
        • Squash
        • Very little, if any, fat or oil
spanish influence
Spanish Influence
  • Besides religion and language, Spanish influenced the food as well
      • Rice and wheat
          • Now staples with corn and beans
          • Rice is always with beans
          • Flour tortillas common in northern regions
      • Garlic and onions
      • Cinnamon and sugar
          • In many popular Latin American desserts
      • Hogs
      • Distillation
          • Tequila: distilled blue agave plant
          • Kahlua: coffee flavored rum-based liqueur
          • Mezcal: distilled maguey plant
            • Sometimes served con gusano (with the worm)
current food trends
Current Food Trends
  • Two meals a day
    • Light breakfast
    • Large lunch around 2-3 in the afternoon
      • Main meal
      • A family gathering
  • Corn, beans, and rice staples
    • Nearly every meal
    • Potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, and greens also eaten
      • Less often and in smaller quantity.
  • Meals are usually just one dish
    • Caldos served with tortillas on the side
    • Sopas-Secas: Casserole type dishes
    • Traditional meal pattern
      • 4-5 meals for more well off families
  • Meat is eaten when available
    • Depends largely on finances
    • Meat is often grilled over high heat
    • Cheaper cuts of meat eaten often
      • Cooked slower and in moisture to tenderize
therapeutic food
Therapeutic Food
  • Food as medicine practiced in some rural and poor areas
  • Hot and cold equilibrium
    • World must stay in balance
    • Hot and cold food eaten in equal amounts
    • Hot and cold conditions exist
          • Hot: pregnancy, diabetes, indigestions
          • Cold: pneumonia, colic, empancho
        • Foods considered the opposite temperature are consumed as a cure.
  • Some foods seen as a cure
    • In a prescriptive sense; not preventative
      • Examples:
        • Chamomile – cure colic, menstrual cramps, itchy eyes, and insomnia
        • Oregano – fever, dry cough, or asthma
american culture adoption
American Culture Adoption
  • Some immigrants acculturate more than others
    • Migrant farm workers keep to more traditional food
  • Both consume more fat
    • More acculturated: fast food and snack food
    • Less acculturated: more fat added to traditional dishes
  • Later generations become very acculturated
    • Often show little, if any, partiality to traditional food
    • Diets high in white breads, cereals, sodas, red meats, and American type cheeses
  • More acculturated Latin American eat out often
    • No ethnic group eats out more often
    • Prefer fast food and kid friendly restaurants
health risks
Health Risks
  • High fat diets especially in second generation
  • Diabetes
    • 2x more likely than white
    • Comorbidity with:
      • Heart disease, hypertension, angina, incontinence, arthritis, immobility, and impaired vision
  • Calcium and riboflavin deficiency
    • Due to low dairy consumption
      • Milk is viewed as a juvenile drink
  • Low in
    • Vitamin A & C, thiamin, niacin, B6, folate, phosphorus, zinc, and fiber
      • All in high levels of traditional diet.
  • Often can’t afford biomedical healthcare
  • Men don’t admit to disease
  • Modesty is crucial
    • Men likely prefer men caregivers and women prefer women caregivers
  • Lengthy explanation will likely fall on deaf ears.
    • A direct approach is best.
  • May not speak English proficiently or at all
    • Client may not be comfortable
    • Interviews can get “lost in translation”
  • A considerable portion of immigrants may still used traditional healing
    • Mostly emotional
    • Should not interfere with biomedical therapy
dominican republic
Dominican Republic
  • Contains Oldest city in the Americas
  • Has retained many of its basic component food ingredients
  • Has added foods introduced from Spain, Italy, Africa, Japan, etc.
historically speaking
Historically speaking;
  • Third-world, yet more modern than US in certain aspects; fashion, culture, history, and diversity.
  • It's cultural foods include: yucca, yautia, platano, bacalaito, rice, beans, fruits, vegetables, coffee, hot cocoa, and beer.
the new vegetarian culture
The "New" vegetarian culture
  • Pictured is "Moro" black beans and rice, Tayota cooked with tofu, sweet fried plantains, and cucumber salad.
another one
Another one
  • Pasta with cheese, avocado salad, and tostones (fried green plantains). This pasta is similar to Italian food, but it is flavored uniquely in the Caribbean.
getting hungry
Getting hungry?
  • Pinto bean Moro, sauted spinach, onions and mushrooms, and slices of avocado. The foods are simple, but the tastes are tantalizing. It's a good thing the main meal is eaten at lunch.
caribbean beans arroz con abichuellas
Caribbean BeansArroz con abichuellas
  • Steamed rice (I choose to use long-grain brown rice)2 cups dry
  • Pinto beans, 2 cans
  • Sofrito, 2 Tbsp (This paste is made of 1-onion, 1-green bell pepper, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1 clove garlic, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup green salad olives with fluid, Adobo to taste and can be refrigerated for a few weeks).
  • Tomato sauce, 2-3 ounces
  • Sauté the tomato sauce with the sofrito for a few minutes on medium heat. When flavors are wafting up to your nose, add the beans and 5-6 oz of water. Allow to cook on medium till gently boiling, turn down heat and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes more. Place a layer of rice on plate, scoop some beans over it, enjoy.


Kittler, P. G., Sucher, K. P., Nahikian-Nelms, M. (2012). Food and Culture, 6, 221-260.