La Voz Latina - Su puente a la comunidad Hispana de Georgia y Carolina del sur

Sweet taste of Christmas

  • Variedades de turron.

     Cooking is one of the most important cultural components of a country. Food is not only necessary for the natural functioning of the body but through it we celebrate milestones throughout our lives. And what is one of the most important dates on the calendar? Well, it all depends on the geographical location of that talk, but if we focus on western areas such as the United States, Latin America and Europe, one could conclude  that the Christmas celebration is the unanimous choice.
     If we go to Spain and we sneak into the house of a typical Spanish family, we will see that they first serve snacks at Christmas dinner, to whet your appetite, which consist of delicacies like the classic Serrano ham, pork loin, Manchego cheese, shrimps and prawns; also often they serve different types of pate, caviar, smoked salads and other delicacies. Then comes the main course which will vary in each house. The most typical of all is usually the turkey, but in many households other meats like chicken, partridges, suckling pig, and lamb are served. In others they opt more for fish: bream, eel, especially northern eel and others opt for a great seafood, especially in coastal areas. All these dishes are often accompanied by their corresponding trimmings.
     After a heavy meal there is often still room left for dessert. And here comes into play  a typical Christmas product that will not be missed in any Spanish home: the nougat. A rectangular sweet that is cut in squares and is usually served in variety on a tray. There are nougats of all flavors: whole almonds, chopped hazelnuts, chocolate, fruit, sweets made with egg yolk and sugar, etc. ... In addition to nougats, sweets are served, which are almonds covered with a layer of white sugar, sugared almonds and chocolates among other confectionery varieties. Other very typical sweet Spanish Christmas products include ice cream and polvorón, consisting of a sweet pastry made with almonds, but due to its dry consistency, not usually taken as dessert but at breakfast or snack, accompanied usually a cup of coffee or chocolate. Here a stunning variety of shortbread is also served: lemon, nuts, coconut, chocolate, etc. ...
     A major difference between the United States, Latin America and Spain is the time when Christmas is celebrated. While in Spain and Latin America, the twenty-fourth day of December is of great importance, Christmas dinner is usually served in the United States on the twenty-fifth day, sometime between noon and seven in the evening. In many Latin American countries, Christmas dinner is served  after midnight, where pork, tamales or the classic turkey is served. In Spain, it is usually from nine or ten at night.
     In addition, the Thursday of the last week of November is celebrated in the US as Thanksgiving Day, the traditional dish is turkey, while, at Christmas dinner, American families opt for a different dish to avoid repeating themselves.
     If we spend Christmas dinner with a traditional American family we find that the main course is some sort of meat, either poultry such as chicken or goose, or other, more likely ham or lean beef. Along with this dish do not miss the mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, zucchini and other vegetables, usually roasted. As for dessert, we typically offer a variety of sweets and cakes like plum pudding, pecan pie (a dried fruit like walnuts), sweet potato pie, coconut pie and fruit starts.
     But the United States is very large and each state will have its own culinary varieties. Thus Virginia, for example, include oysters. As it happens with Latin American countries. If we go to Argentina, where it's summer in December, you can enjoy cold dishes, including salads and ciders, and as deserving, the typical Argentinian beef roast. In El Salvador, however, they enjoy the turkey with a Creole sauce, tamales, and salad. In the Caribbean, they highlight different rice recipes, like sweet rice in Puerto Rico, the guandú in Panama, the Tica in Costa Rica; in the area of ​​Colombia, a coconut rice dish is a must at this time. As for the sweets we can name an endless string of desserts such as custard, donuts, Easter bread, cakes, butter, etc.
     Each country and regional area has different culinary traditions to celebrate this feast, but everyone agrees to enjoy this special day of family time, in which the main dish is love, with a few drops of caring and a few slices of affection. Love is the secret seasoning that adds flavor to life. Merry Christmas everyone!

Issue Month: 
Thursday, December 3, 2015