Celebrate Latin American Cuisine and Heritage This Spring!

By Valentín S. RSS Mon, May 10, 2021

The Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center is excited to bring back A Taste of Latin American Heritage, a workshop produced by Oldways, this upcoming spring!

These recipes honor and celebrate the Latin American diaspora of the Americas and Caribbean. Influenced by the Spanish and Portuguese conquisition, these recipes are historically significant to Indigenous and enslaved African roots. This six-week culinary series adapts ancient recipes dating back as far as the Mayan and Incan civilizations with a modern, heart-friendly twist. All recipes are accessible, affordable, and simple to put together for yourself and loved ones. Some recipe highlights from our last workshop series in January include vegetable tostadas, yuca with garlic-lime sauce, watermelon gazpacho and menestra (Ecuadorian lentil stew).

By focusing on the mostly plant-based diets of Indigenous ancestors, we reflect on the  question of how colonization shifted eating patterns; the goal of A Taste of Latin American Heritage is to learn about the historical significance of foods, celebrate traditional ways of eating, and adapt these traditional recipes into current Latin American cuisine. Health disparities, like heart disease and diabetes, are prevalent in modern-day Latin American societies. Through historical context and plant-based recipes, we hope to share more information about these issues and empower folks to think about their health in new ways!

Register for A Taste of Latin American Heritage and cook up to six recipes along with skilled chefs.

Bringing impactful community-based health and wellness knowledge, Dejenaba Gordon (she/her), community chef, Assistant Professor of Public Health at Arcadia University, and founder of BE Yoga, will provide the historical context of each food group and explain a Latin American food pyramid (yes, it's different than the standard USDA Food Pyramid!) into bite-size pieces for patrons to then incorporate into their own health journey—no pun intended. Valentín Sánchez-Stoddard (they/them), Healthy Communities Program Assistant, will be assisting Professor and Chef Gordon with bilingual Spanish translation for Spanish speakers, as well as providing an extra learning opportunity for all patrons. Valentín will also give their personal insight into Latin American cuisine and culture, sharing their Salvadoran-American heritage with all of us.

Join us for A Taste of Latin American Heritage on Saturdays, May 15–June 19 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.! You can register on our Eventbrite page and if you're planning to cook alongside us, the shopping list is available online. Community members are highly encouraged to attend all six sessions to gain more comprehensive knowledge about Latin American cuisine and heritage!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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