In Cuba, the cuisine is simple but full of flavor and influenced by surrounding countries and cultures. The fact that in Cuban cuisine there's less emphasis on precision makes it unlike more complex styles of cooking. Cuba's cuisine sheds light on life in the Caribbean country as well as the influence that historic events and unrest have had on the nation's culture.
The following are some facts about Cuba's style of cooking:
1. It's a melting pot
Cuban food draws on the cuisine of multiple and diverse cultures, including Spanish, French, African, Chinese, Portuguese, and Arabic. The arrival of explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492 had a major influence on the direction of Cuban cooking. Columbus claimed the country on behalf of Spain, and the newly arrived Spanish inhabitants brought their cuisine with them. The Spanish later brought slaves from Africa for manual labor, merging African and Spanish cooking.
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2. It's easy to prepare
The University of Miami describes Cuban cooking
as primarily "peasant cuisine." This relatively uncomplicated style doesn't require adding ingredients in a specific order or in a specific amount. Food by Country notes that traditional Cuban recipes
are sparse when it comes to seasonings and sauces.
3. Fidel Castro's rise to power changed Cuban cuisine
When Castro took control of the country in 1959, many who opposed or feared him left the country. This included many chefs and restaurant owners, robbing the country's cuisine of some of its most important influences. In addition, political turmoil and tense relations with other countries caused food shortages and made it difficult to obtain certain ingredients. This fundamentally altered the way in which Cubans prepared food.
4. Recipes are built around a few key ingredients
Bean soups play a crucial role in Cuban cuisine, along with stews and casseroles. The most commonly used meats are pork and chicken. Beef and seafood are rarely consumed. Fried food is also popular in Cuban dining, but there is a lighter side as well, with salad almost always included in a typical Cuban meal.
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