From September 15 - October 15, 2013 we recognize Hispanic and Latin American heritage and culture during Hispanic Heritage Month. And, one of the essential links to Hispanic culture is the cuisine.
When Sandra A. Gutierrez reminisces of her childhood, she remembers her first sweet introduction to Latin American street food while running errands throughout the streets of Guatemala City with her mother.
"I can't recall what errands got completed that day, but the taste of hot, sugary fried dough is etched clearly in my mind," she said.
Gutierrez, who was born in the United States and grew up in Guatemala, has always been fascinated with the the intersection of traditional American and Latin American foods and culture. Sandra said that her fondest memories would not be complete without the delicious street foods she grew up eating in Guatemala.
Now living in North Carolina, the acclaimed food writer, recipe developer and culinary instructor with two decades of experience, noticed a huge influx of Latinos from all different socio-economic and culinary backgrounds into the American South, while writing on the topic for the Cary News in the 1990s.
"Southerners and Latinos share similar culinary histories, ingredients, and cooking techniques, but we interpret them in very different ways," said Sandra, who in 2011 published The New Southern Latino Table. "I find it exciting that, having found themselves in the same territory, these culinary traditions are correlating and intermingling. I call this the New Southern-Latino movement. This is a movement in which chiles rellenos are stuffed with pimiento cheese, and corn ice cream is topped with hot praline sauce."
Gutierrez noticed Latin American street food gaining popularity in the United States. On a trip to Portland, Oregon, while marveling at the spectrum of street food vendors in the city, she noticed that the street foods of Latin America were limited. That is where the idea for a cook book dedicated to Latin American street food was born.
"One of the best things about growing up in Guatemala was the accessibility of wonderful, fresh, fun and authentic street food," Gutierrez said. "There is so much to love about the festival-like atmosphere that goes along with eating delicious food al fresco on a sidewalk, surrounding by other food lovers."
In her new cookbook, Latin American Street Food, Gutierrez shares three years of research and experience taking readers on a tasting tour of 150 easy, popular and delicious recipes of twenty Latin American countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Peru, and Brazil.
The Guatemalan-American writer celebrates Latin-American food culture with fascinating culinary history lessons and fun personal stories. She also presents succulent and unexpected dishes sure to become favorites, such as Costa Rican Tacos Ticos, Brazilian Avocado Ice Cream, and Peruvian Fried Ceviche. Beautifully illustrated, the book includes a list of sources for ingredients.
From arepas to empanadas, tamales to tacos, and food on a stick to ceviches, Sandra's book, which launched just before Hispanic Heritage Month began in September, offers distinctive, vibrant, and portable dishes for everyone.