Spicy Latin Dishes

nina | June 1st, 2011 - 9:00 am

Cooks in hot zones, from the Caribbean to Central America, fan back the heat with spicy, flavorful foods.

Now a record number of U.S. cooks are following suite, embracing Latin cuisine for its spices, fresh ingredients, ability to perk up appetites anesthetized by long, hot summers or lulled into boredom by bland food. 

Latin flavors are big and bold but not burn-the-top-of-your-head-off hot.  A little Latin goes a long way in adding wonderful flavors to just about anything. 

Two decades ago, Americans equated Latin food with taco-enchilada cuisine of bordering Mexican states.  In the early 1990’s, view expanded as Latin foods such as chipotles, blue cornmeal and black beans started hitting the American table.  Empanadas, ceviche and chimichurri led the next wave.

The common bond of Latin cuisines is the balancing act between robust spices and refreshing flavors, from chiles to lime. 

Experts predict that, along with enticing flavors, population trends will continue fueling the popularity of Latin foods and the availability of ingredients.  Latinos today constitute our nation’s largest minority, according the U.S. Census Bureau data.  By 2050, the size of the Latino population is expected to sell to 102.6 million.  At that point, Latinos will represent 24% of the U.S. population, a projected 188 percent increase in 50 years.

Source:  The Arizona Republic, 5/9/11

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