Latin Culture: Diversity and Difference

Can you believe how many different cultures can be referenced under the umbrella terms "Hispanic", "Spanish" and "Latin"? These are not as specific as you might at first have been led to believe, and they also are not technically interchangeable, although in the modern era they are often used that way. There are so many different cultures that can be lumped into these monolithic categories, although none of the terms quite fit. All of them have specific meanings unique to the regions they were originally linguistically intended to reference. For example, consider the origins of the term "Latin" in this regard, and how it refers most often to cultures conquered by the Spanish conquistadors and forcefully assimilated into their old empire. Hispanic literally means "of Spain", but, because of the violent connotations and historical meanings behind this word, many object to the use of this term to describe their cultures. Puerto Ricans, for example, prefer the term "Puerto Rican" - it is more accurate and doesn't lump us in with the Spanish, who successfully completely wiped out the Native cultures and peoples of the island, and transplanted their own culture there instead.

When we use Latin as a broad term, though, it can be helpful in explaining huge concepts to non-hispanic people. Latin fusion cuisine is one of the things made easier to explain by using these words! After all, there is no good word to describe all of these Spanish speaking cultures - how do you lump so many diverse people under one umbrella? But what Chile, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and all these other countries and islands have in common is that they all have an incredibly diverse menu... and mixing them together is just one way of creating an exciting and unique sampling of all of these Spanish speaking cultures!

Fine family dining is often celebrated at restaurants like this, because of that very diversity. There's something offered for everyone. Whether you want something that's more on the side of traditional Mexican cuisine, or if you want to do something experimental such as Tapas inspired cuisine with added spice, this is one of the most varied kinds of menus I've personally experienced in my growing experience as an amateur foodie.

Sure, nothing is ever as good as Abuela's home cooked meals, and I get nostalgic for a little taste of the traditional when I'm feeling a particular kind of way. But seeing the future of my culture - being something that isn't afraid to be explosive, different, take risks, and grow in the modern age - that is something special indeed. Latin fusion restaurants have given me a renewed sense of excitement about the future of my community. I like to see it as a way of celebrating the differences and contrasts between all of our incredible, singular, unique cultures, and what better way to do that than through one of the most exciting things that we can provide - Spanish food itself - prepared in a brand new, innovative way.

Kae Colon is a writer that specializes in Latin fusion restaurants and greatly enjoys her family's secret recipes that go back generations.

This article was published on 08 Jul 2015 and has been viewed 442 times
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