Hence, the sweet stews introduced by the Conquistadors into the Americas have their origins in Spain’s Moorish past. Catalan also has some words that were of Arabic origin, but the Spanish language has more. Three major elements indicate the influence of Arabic cuisine: sugar, saffron, and spices. These dishes, with the exception of hot peppers as an ingredient, could have easily been cooked in the kitchens of their homelands. This, with the word zanahorias, derived from the Moorish/Arabic name for carrots isfariníyah, makes it quite certain this tasty dish was first served in the Arab lands. After their defeat, it became a Spanish dish which was later introduced into Mexico. However, this tasty world of Mexican cooking is virtually unknown to the outside world. So let’s begin by looking very briefly at a cookbook written in Arabic: Fuḍālat al-khiwān fī ṭayyibāt al-ṭaʻām wa-al-alwān, by Ibn Razin al-Tugibi, a tome of 450 recipes written between 1238 and 1266. In Yucatán, where the Lebanese influence is most visible, you can ask for Kibbeh (or ‘kipe’ ‘kepe’ as streets vendors pronounce the Arabic word in Spanish), which are little turnover-like fritters, made with minced ground beef, chopped onion stuffed into a bulgur dough and fried. Years later, as I became interested in the history of food, I realized variants of her dish are common in countries such as Hungary, Russia, and Greece. This variety of cultural adaptations makes Mexico a veritable melting pot of culinary experiences. However, one of the most interesting culinary imprints in Mexico has been created by Lebanese migration. The next important element in the evolution … This began the vast diversity of Mexican cuisine and also the varied recipes between regions that still remain true in today’s Mexican food. But where did it all begin? Ever had authentic Yucatecan food? During the years of the Reconquista (Christian reconquest of Spain) a part of the opulent Moorish culture had become more Spanish than the Catholic faith. Without question, the exotic mouth-watering dishes of modern Mexico reflect this historic evolution. With them they brought their secretly preserved food, which had been banned in Spain. To better grow their dozens of vegetables and fruits never before cultivated in the Iberian Peninsula, the Arabs of Spain, who in the subsequent years were named by the Europeans Moors, introduced a widespread system of irrigation. Although known and employed in the Middle East for many centuries, this system of watering plants, en mass, was unknown in pre-Islamic Spain. […] like pico de gala and Arabic salad are just the beginning leaing into the culinary world of Mexican and Arabic recipes infusing into […], Have you been to an authentic Italian restaurant lately? Even though elements of Greek, Indian, Persian and other Oriental music have been absorbed by this fiery spectacle, the Arab influences have been the most profound. Immigration of Arabs in Mexico has influenced Mexican culture, in particular food, where they have introduced Kibbeh, Tabbouleh and even created recipes such as Tacos Árabes. Even Mexican Catholicism has not been spared by Arab influence. During this century, the Arab emigrants from the Middle East to Mexico were surprised to find a number of foods which were not strange to their culinary taste. In 712 A. D., after having occupied the whole of the North African shore, the Arabs began their conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. So why bother describing food as authentic? When this rich inventory of food was blended into the Moorish-inspired Spanish kitchen, the result was a delightful Mexican cuisine. There looming in front of you in all its glory is Gibel Musa. Here, it was refined and enjoyed by the gourmet-loving Moors. In Arab Spain, the Moors had developed a number of foods based on the cuisine of their former countries of origin in the Middle East and North Africa. These dishes, with the exception of hot peppers as an ingredient, could have easily been cooked in the kitchens of their homelands. Mexican food has a wide-reaching influence in American culture. When, today, a Mexican sits down to eat a satisfying dish of zanahorias rellenas, stuffed carrots, he is in fact consuming the food of the Moors. With this convergence of influences coming from different directions, how could Mexican cuisine not be a product of  ‘fusion’,… then and now? No one who studies history will question the fact that in the formation of this cuisine, the Moors had a hand. On the other hand, for Muslim slaves it was another story. In Mexico is common to say Arab or Turk to both Maronites and Islamic descendants because of their look, and often because they spoke the same lenguage (arabic), and the traditional dishes / food are also similar. Full of flavor, packed with soul, and rich in heritage, Mexican food is one of the world’s most-loved cuisines. ", Happy Dia de los Muertos! There is even a huge Arabic influence on Mexican food. Mexican food, for example, with its complex blends of spices in curry-like dishes called moles, could show the influence of the world of al-Andalus. G.C. And, of course, there is also a historically older pastry, Marzapán, the almond paste dough so common in central and eastern Mexico, thought to have been created by the Arabs whose presence in Al-Andalus in southern Spain took place between 711 and 1492. It went to northern India, Afghanistan and Pakistan -- all of those countries were dominated by the Arabs. The food was Arab, yet it had the touch of Montezuma’s land. Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales RS: Many things: cilantro, cumin, clove -- they don't come from the Middle East particularly, but remember that the Arabic empire used to go all over. Booth suggests that one of Mulay al-Karim’s descendants was among these Conquistadors and was responsible for introducing some of the Moorish-Spanish dishes into Mexico. Mexican food history has enjoyed many different cultural influences, making it varied and rich. The majority of Arabs came to Mexico from Mount Lebanon, which had witnessed the collapse of its silk industry after the Suez Canal’s opening in 1869 linked European markets to Far Eastern competitors. The Mexican kitchen today is a collection of cuisines. If you visit Mexico City, I highly suggest you pay them a visit to not only learn about the Lebanese presence in Mexico, but to have a taste of one of many versions of Mexican ‘fusion’ cuisine! Curious about the symbolism behind traditional bread Pan de Muerto? The story of this culinary interaction is a fascinating tale. At the heart of Mexico City’s historic city sits the baroque Church of Our Lady of Balvanera, better known as the Maronite cathedral. The Arab influence is more evident in the southern part of the peninsula. Yet, no matter how much the Arabs contributed to the Spanish, then Mexican cuisines, this inheritance from the Moors forms only a part of the culinary art of the Spanish-speaking world. The Mexican sweet, almendrado (almond pudding), which although modified somewhat by gelatine, is still basically a dish, which was enjoyed in Moorish Spain. A Middle Eastern influence was exerted on Mexican culture when immigrants from Lebanon starting arriving in the 1890s (Salma Hayek, the actor, and Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest men, … Middle Eastern influences are also apparent in the wealth of sweetened desserts, including flan and other custards, which were reproduced in the convents of Latin America. Mexican food history has enjoyed many different cultural influences, making it varied and rich. Moorish traditions were banned and many trials were held for converted Muslims who broke this law. The influence of Arabic on the Spanish language is fundamentally lexical but its other influences are also briefly examined in this article. They were developed in the Middle East and as were other products consumed in these lands, carried to Spain, then transferred to the New World. Watch our video, Cacique Soy Chorizo Burgers with Creamy Slaw, Picnicking with Cacique: Stuffed Fried Chicken Sandwiches and Griffith Park, CACIQUE QUESO QUESADILLA CORUNDAS #GOAUTENTICO, Black Bean Tlacoyos made with Cacique Cotija cheese, LATINOFOODIE VISITS COUNTRY’S LARGEST MEXICAN FRESH CHEESE COMPANY — CACIQUE #GOAUTENTICO, Strawberry Yogurt Tamales – Las Posadas celebrations just got better, TROPICAL ESCAPE – Piña Colada Yogurt Smoothie with Bananas and Chia Seeds, STACKED, CHEESY EGGPLANT WITH ENCHILADA SAUCE, The Connection Between Mexican and Arabic Cuisine | The Ananasa Blog, Carne al Pastor: A Mexican national dish straight from Lebanon - Global Foodways. When the defeated Moors were forced to convert to Christianity, anything with a Muslim connotation was forbidden. Spanish mosques, which been converted into churches, inspired the architecture of Spanish religious edifices and the Spanish language had been impregnated with thousands of Arabic words. (Yes,… Astrid Hadad, Selma Hayek, and Carlos Slim are probably Mexico’s most famous Mexicans of Lebanese descent). The utilization of fruits, olives and nuts in the soups and stews of the Iberian Peninsula are as Moorish as the language of the Koran. In fact, Borracha’s Mexican-inspired dishes and drink menu are just one instance of how Mexican flavors and traditions are celebrated here in the United States. In the picturesque haciendas of the wealthy, or the adobe and reed peasant huts, there exists today, one of the most diversified kitchens in the world. After European colonization, and with subsequent demographic shifts caused by massive migrations in the 19th and 20th centuries, culinary dishes were the first to bear the imprint of transculturation (when cultures change due to the influences of other cultures). When it came to Mexico, the Mexicans, of course, added the hot peppers. The larger wave of Lebanese immigrants arrived in Veracruz when Mexico opened its doors to them during the Israel-Lebanon War of 1948. The rich Moorish-Spanish cuisine of the later centuries could not have come into existence without the Arab introduction of new legumes and fruits. They were in demand for their skills and were brought into the Americas on a steady basis. In that epoch religious fanaticism was rampant. In the hot summers of southern Spain, its refreshing taste and simple ingredients made it an ideal soup for the hard working peasants. If you know something about the history of food, you may already be aware that Mexico’s regional cuisines have incorporated not only the autochthonous (indigenous to a region, rather than descended from migrants or colonists) food items as well as those brought by the Spaniards, which included ingredients form Europe and Asia. However, the judges of the Inquisition had an insurmountable task, since much of the Moorish ways of life had become as Spanish as the judges themselves. Mexican food has a long and rich history that has been influenced over the years by many different cultures. A few years ago, when visiting my relatives in Mexico City, I realized this fact … Just about every grocery store, mundane … Almond sweets of all types, which are common in Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico, are of pure Moorish origin. In the decades that followed, tens of thousands from Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt began arriving in Mexico as well. The paella in fact is a basic Arab introduction, although we associate it with Valencia rather than Andalucia. The influence of Arabic on the Spanish language is fundamentally lexical but its other influences are also briefly examined in this article. It was believed they were still Muslin in secret and hence, might teach the Indians Islam, and thus undermine the Christian faith. Latin America is an incredibly diverse region, ranging from small, coastal Central American countries to the imposing mountain ranges of South America. Visit LatinoFoodie's profile on Pinterest. During this century, the Arab emigrants from the Middle East to Mexico were surprised to find a number of foods which were not strange to their culinary taste. According to G.C. The Moorish effect on Spanish life permeated all aspects of society. Have you been to an authentic Italian restaurant lately? Arabic influence in the region did not end with language. Much of traditional Mexican cuisine is influenced by the ancient Maya civilization and the native ingredients that were found and cultivated in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago. For that matter, how can any country who has experienced the ebbs and flows of foreign conquests and migration throughout its history boast of an authentic cuisine? Because this community is not as long as the Maronite, they are less integrated and has less influence in the countrys life. In that era the cuisines of Spain and Portugal were simple and frugal. Arabic Influence in Spanish Food Posted on 24 August 2009 in the "Culture" Category. These were only a few of the Arab introduced vegetables and fruits utilized in the many dishes which Mulay al-Karim longed for when he set foot in Spain. Albóndiga, an Arab word, settled into Spanish cuisine because, of course, Spain was an Arab territory from 711 until the 1500’s when the Arabs were expelled militarily from the Iberian peninsula And no other cuisine on this side of the globe manifests this falsehood than Mexican. By the middle of the 20th century Middle Eastern gastronomic influences were already manifesting in Mexican cuisine. Many will be astonished to know that the famous Spanish gazpacho is a Moorish soup developed in the hot lands of North Africa. How did the victuals of Baghdad and Damascus become a part of the Mexican cuisine? Hummus is a popular side dish made of chickpeas eaten with pita bread called khubus. They start eating tacos at home, and tacos started getting sold in Mexican restaurants. Rice in fact is another introduction from across the Straits and soon grew in popularity from a luxury food to an everyday meal. It was brought by the Muslims from Baghdad to Andalusia, then passed on to Mexico by the Spaniards. Government In government the Arabs developed free enterprise, the national flag, tax collection and the system of law and order. A few years ago, when visiting my relatives in Mexico City, I realized this fact when we sat down to an Arabic meal, Mexican style. These “Arabic rolls,” which were very similar to the ‘tacos de parra’ described above, consisted of ground beef, rice, mint, pine nuts, each wrapped in a steamed cabbage leaf and sometimes baked in a little broth. About 4,000 words of Arabic origin or influenced by Arabic are found in the regional varieties of Spanish, which can be heard if you are to travel around the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. It rests, in the main, on the pre-Spanish dishes of the Aztec and Mayan Indians – a copious cuisine, which included many fruits and vegetables unknown in the Europe of Columbus. Feibleman in his book The Cooking of Spain and Portugal derives the name gazpacho itself from the Arabic khubz mushrib (soaked bread). The Lebanese have been immigrating to Mexico since the 1880’s to areas such as the Yucatan peninsula, where the first wave of Lebanese immigrants arrived, fleeing from the economic and political grip of the Ottoman empire. Slippery! My passion for good food and good history has culminated in writing cookbooks to expose the great food cultures of the world, especially that of the Middle East and North Africa. By Rachel Laudan September 5, 2013 Food History, Globalization Then and Now, Mexican Food 18 Comments When Mexico’s leading writer, Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz, arrived in New Delhi in 1962 to take up his post as ambassador to India, he quickly ran across a culinary puzzle. Being so close to Mexico, it only makes sense that the U.S. would pick up elements of the Mexican culture. What are the connection between Mexican food and the Arab lands? Much of the current cuisine of the Iberian country is heir of the Muslim tradition, an empire that occupied up to 70% of the country at some point. Emergence of Mexican Restaurants. Moving steadily westward through North Africa, the Arab-Islamic armies brought with them new industrial and agricultural products to the newly conquered lands. When the Arabs burst out of the Arabian Peninsula at the end of the 7th century, they carried with them not only their new religion but also the products they had inherited from the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. Do you plan on being with family in person this Thanksgiving? The stringy cheese of queso de Oaxaca, Mexico’s national cheese, is also thought to be a result of the arabic influence on Spanish food — as … There is a wonderful restaurant open to the public that serves delicious Lebanese dishes, ranging from tacos árabes and lamb to a very impressive assortment of Arabic pastries. Once refugees started coming up, they wanted to eat the food of their homeland. Trendy magazines and the international food punditry (for example, Matt Preston in Australia) say “Si” to Spanish cuisine and predict a continuing surge of enthusiasm for the food of the land of Don Quixote. Little do they suspect that there is a vast Mexican culinary world, which excites the passion, seduces the body, then sends one into ecstasy. They were tantalizing morsels that fused Middle Eastern flavors with my aunt’s northern Mexican style of seasoning food (‘el sazón ‘ as we say in Spanish). As it travels, food changes, adapts into new cultural types. But there is one other theory generally believed to be the more common acceptable etymology. The town of Mazara del ValloLuca Rossi/Flickr. World War I led to a new wave, as widespread food shortages and famine ravaged the Levant. Every time I see or hear the word ‘authentic’ used to describe a cuisine I can’t help but to have a slight smirk on my face, because, simply stated, when it comes to the creation of a cuisine, this category is especially… well, how shall I put it? This video is all about how the Arabic language has influenced Modern Hebrew! They also introduced natural produce from Asia which was totally unknown to the Spanish. They start eating tacos at home, and tacos started getting sold in Mexican restaurants. As they spread out from their desert homeland, they did not destroy the cultures of their predecessors. Because this community is not as long as the Maronite, they are less integrated and has less influence in the countrys life. The Moorish culture has left a mark not only on the Spanish language, but also on the customs , art , and culture found across the Iberian Peninsula. ** See scanned pages in Arabic HERE. In Puebla, the Lebanese influence is most obvious in creations such as tacos árabes, which are essentially a version of the Middle Eastern shawarma, and usually made with marinated pork prepared on a spit and sliced into a pan árabe (pita bread) or a thick flour tortilla and topped off with slices of onion, and a red sauce. In the mood for authentic Cuban, After European colonization, and with subsequent demographic shifts caused by massive migrations in the 19th and 20th centuries, culinary dishes were the first to bear the imprint of, If you know something about the history of food, you may already be aware that Mexico’s regional cuisines have incorporated not only the, In Yucatán, where the Lebanese influence is most visible, you can ask for, Other dishes include what is commonly called “, In Puebla, the Lebanese influence is most obvious in creations such as, Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe. An appreciable number of these Conquistadors were themselves of Moorish stock and thus, for generations, were accustomed to the exotic food of the Moors. The first viceroy to Spanish America, Antonio Mendoza, who himself was partly of Moorish blood, grew up in the Moorish palaces of Alhambra and was accustomed to Arab dress and food. At the same time as the slaves were transmitting their dishes into New Spain, which included Mexico, others were introducing the culinary arts of the Moors in a different fashion. Mexican food is hugely popular throughout the U.S., but diners often forget that there’s more to Latin cuisine than Mexican food. Berenjena, eggplant, is from the Arabic badhinjan, alcachofa (artichoke: al-khurshuf), alubia (kidney-beans: al-lubiya), espinaca (spinach: isbanakh), albaricogues (apricots: al-barquq), caña de azúcar (sugar cane: sukkar and qana), limón (lemon:­ laymun), naranja (orange: naranj), sandías (melons: sindiya ), and zafaris (pomegranates: safari ). Substituting rice for wheat and altering their method of preparing couscous they invented paella. In the same year that the Moors were defeated in Spain, America was discovered. Rather, they absorbed, then utilized them as a base for the rich Arab-Islamic civilization which was to be the catalyst of world progress in the ensuing centuries. 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