One thing that most people know about me is that I have an absolute love for traveling. Near. Far. It doesn't matter. Buy me a plane ticket and I'm off. One of the main reasons that I love to travel so much is to experience different cultures. It doesn't matter if you stay within the states or you travel abroad, the world is full of amazing cultures to experience and learn about.
September 15th marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month and it runs through October 15th. The celebration of culture began in 1968 under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson as a mere week and was expanded to a full month in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. The significance of September 15th is that this is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16th and September 18th respectively. With over 50.5 million Hispanics in America, it's no wonder that there is such a significant cultural presence in the United States. Celebrations are expected all over the U.S. ranging from art displays to festivals serving up traditional Hispanic foods. An important aspect of Hispanic culture is the preparation of food made of fresh, quality ingredients from scratch.
Food preparation in the Hispanic culture is a way for a mother to show love for her family. It is also a way for families to transmit culture from one generation to another. Food is not just seen as a means to nourish the body but also a way for the family to come together and talk about their day. The most popular Hispanic foods are derived from rice and beans and a flavor base called Sofrito. Sofrito is a mild tomato base and a staple in traditional Hispanic cooking. The celebration of Hispanic holidays will bring out a full display of traditional foods all across the nation. Taking a cue from their love of fresh ingredients, I prepared a cilantro guacamole using ripe avocado, Litehouse Salsa and Litehouse Cotija Cilantro dressing. Mixed together with a few extra herbs, this guacamole creates the perfect party dip paired with chips or fried plantains.
When was the last time that you took a few moments to appreciate another culture? The beautiful thing about America is that it is a melting pot of culture waiting with open arms for you to embrace it. Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month this year by exploring some of the amazing contributions and foods that this culture has to offer.