This is a list of cuisines of the Americas. A cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions,often associated with a specific culture. The cuisines found across North and South America are based on the cuisines of the countries from which the immigrant peoples came, primarily Europe. However, the traditional European cuisine has been adapted by the addition of many local ingredients, and many techniques have been added to the tradition as well.
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The dishes made in the previously British and French Islands and territories in the Caribbean are much more diverse than the islands colonized by Spanish due to a history of changing colonial administration or ownership (between British, French, Dutch and Spanish), and the migration of diverse groups brought to work on plantations including Indians from Indian, Chinese and Portuguese (Madeira and Azores).
There is even much diversity within each previous colonial groupings. While both Trinidad and Jamaica were both British colonies and share similar cooking styles, the scope of dishes in Trinidad are different and more diverse due to a very different population make up. The similarities in the larger region lie mostly in the fruits and vegetables consumed and the ingredients used in cooking, with the use of root vegetables, plantains, beans, and rice, fish and seafood being a common denominator. In the post independence and post colonial era, and with globalization in the 1990s cultural and food similarities between the previous British, still French and Dutch Island and territories were magnified.
A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture or geographic region. Regional food preparation traditions, customs and ingredients often combine to create dishes unique to a particular region.
Fusion cuisine is cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions that originate from different countries, regions, or cultures. Cuisines of this type are not categorized according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in innovations of many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.
Mexican cuisine began about 9000 years ago, when agricultural communities such as the Maya formed, domesticating maize, creating the standard process of maize nixtamalization, and establishing their foodways. Successive waves of other Mesoamerican groups brought with them their own cooking methods. These included the Olmec, Teotihuacanos, Toltec, Huastec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Otomi, Purépecha, Totonac, Mazatec, and Mazahua.
Chowder is a type of soup or stew often prepared with milk or cream and thickened with broken crackers, crushed ship biscuit, or a roux. Variations of chowder can be seafood or vegetable. Crackers such as oyster crackers or saltines may accompany chowders as a side item, and cracker pieces may be dropped atop the dish. New England clam chowder is typically made with chopped clams and diced potatoes, in a mixed cream and milk base, often with a small amount of butter. Other common chowders include seafood chowder, which includes fish, clams, and many other types of shellfish; lamb or veal chowder made with barley; corn chowder, which uses corn instead of clams; a wide variety of fish chowders; and potato chowder, which is often made with cheese. Fish chowder, corn chowder, lamb chowder and especially clam chowder are popular in the North American regions of New England and Atlantic Canada.
Brazilian cuisine is the set of cooking practices and traditions of Brazil, and is characterized by European, Amerindian, African, and most recently Asian influences. It varies greatly by region, reflecting the country's mix of native and immigrant populations, and its continental size as well. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences.
Costa Rican cuisine is known for being fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruits and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals, often served three times a day. Costa Rican fare is nutritionally well rounded, and nearly always cooked from scratch from fresh ingredients. Due to the location of the country, tropical fruits and vegetables are readily available and included in the local cuisine.
Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in the cooking traditions and practices of Europe, Africa and the native Taínos. Starting from the latter part of the 19th century. Puerto Rican cuisine can be found in several other countries.
Latin American cuisine is the typical foods, beverages, and cooking styles common to many of the countries and cultures in Latin America. Latin America is a highly diverse area of land whose nations have varying cuisines. Some items typical of Latin American cuisine include maize-based dishes arepas, pupusas, tacos, tamales, tortillas and various salsas and other condiments. These spices are generally what give the Latin American cuisines a distinct flavor; yet, each country of Latin America tends to use a different spice and those that share spices tend to use them at different quantities. Thus, this leads for a variety across the land. Sofrito, a culinary term that originally referred to a specific combination of sautéed or braised aromatics, exists in Latin American cuisine. It refers to a sauce of tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, garlic, onions and herbs.
Traditionally, the various cuisines of Africa use a combination of locally available fruits such as, cereal grains and vegetables, as well as milk and meat products, and do not usually have food imported. In some parts of the continent, the traditional diet features an abundance of milk, curd and whey products.
Floribbean cuisine is found in varying forms in Florida restaurants and in the homes of many Floridians throughout the state. The essence of what makes a particular dish "Floribbean" is similar to that of certain other aspects of variable Floridian culture: it is influenced by visitors and immigrants from all over the world, but especially from the Caribbean, Cuba and Puerto Rico. In the case of southern Florida in particular, a subdivision called Latin-Floribbean or Hispano-Floribbean cuisine also borrows features of Latin American cuisine from such countries as Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic, as well as the US commonwealth of Puerto Rico, adding more influences to the mix. To distinguish the Latin Caribbean style from the non-Latin Caribbean style, the terms Afro-Floribbean cuisine and Indo-Floribbean cuisine are sometimes used, as the majority of the Caribbean islands have substantial populations of African or Indian heritage, descendants of slaves or immigrants transported to the islands colonized by British, French, and Dutch settlers.
Native American cuisine includes all cuisines and food practices of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Contemporary Native peoples retain a varied culture of traditional foods, along with the addition of some post-contact foods that have become customary and even iconic of present-day Native American social gatherings. Foods like cornbread, turkey, cranberry, blueberry, hominy and mush have been adopted into the cuisine of the broader United States population from Native American cultures. In other cases, documents from the early periods of Native American contact with European, African, and Asian peoples have allowed the recovery and revitalization of indigenous food practices that had formerly passed out of popularity. The most important Native American crops have generally included corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, wild rice, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, peanuts, avocados, papayas, potatoes and chocolate.
Colombian cuisine is a compound of the culinary traditions of the six main regions within the country. Colombian cuisine varies regionally and is particularly influenced by Indigenous Colombian, Spanish, and African cuisines, with slight Arab influence in some regions. Furthermore, being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Colombia has one of the widest variety of available ingredients depending on the region.
Most traditional foods in Guatemalan cuisine are based on Maya cuisine, with Spanish influence, and prominently feature corn, chilies and beans as key ingredients. Guatemala is famously home to the Hass avocado and the birthplace of chocolate, as first created by the Mayans.
Seafood dishes or fish dishes are distinct food dishes which use seafood as primary ingredients, and are ready to be served or eaten with any needed preparation or cooking completed. Seafood dishes are usually developed within a cuisine or characteristic style of cooking practice and tradition, often associated with a specific culture. A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade. Religious food laws, such as Islamic dietary laws and Jewish dietary laws, can also exercise a strong influence. Regional food preparation traditions, customs and ingredients often combine to create seafood dishes unique to a particular region.
Oaxacan cuisine is a regional cuisine of Mexico, centered on the city of Oaxaca, the capital of the state of the same name located in southern Mexico. Oaxaca is one of Mexico's major gastronomic, historical, and gastro-historical centers whose cuisine is known internationally. Like the rest of Mexican cuisine, Oaxacan food is based on staples such as corn, beans and chile peppers, but there is a great variety of other ingredients and food preparations due to the influence of the state's varied geography and indigenous cultures. Corn and many beans were first cultivated in Oaxaca. Well known features of the cuisine include ingredients such as chocolate, Oaxaca cheese, mezcal and grasshoppers (chapulines) with dishes such as tlayudas, Oaxacan style tamales and seven notable varieties of mole sauce. The cuisine has been praised and promoted by food experts such as Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless and is part of the state's appeal for tourists.
The cuisine of Veracruz is the regional cooking centered on the Mexican state that stretches over most of the country's coast on the Gulf of Mexico. Its cooking is characterized by three main influences, indigenous, Spanish and Afro-Cuban, due to its history, which included the arrival of the Spanish and that of slaves from Africa and the Caribbean. These influences have contributed many ingredients to the cooking including native vanilla, corn and seafood, along with rice, spices and tubers. How much the three mix depending on the area of the state, with some areas more heavily favoring one or another. The state has worked to promote its cuisine both in Mexico and abroad as part of its tourism industry.
The cuisine of Chiapas is a style of cooking centered on the Mexican state of the same name. Like the cuisine of rest of the country, it is based on corn with a mix of indigenous and European influences. It distinguishes itself by retaining most of its indigenous heritage, including the use of the chipilín herb in tamales and soups, used nowhere else in Mexico. However, while it does use some chili peppers, including the very hot simojovel, it does not use it as much as other Mexican regional cuisines, preferring slightly sweet seasoning to its main dishes. Large regions of the state are suitable for grazing and the cuisine reflects this with meat, especially beef and the production of cheese. The most important dish is the tamal, with many varieties created through the state as well as dishes such as chanfaina, similar to menudo and sopa de pan. Although it has been promoted by the state of Chiapas for tourism purposes as well as some chefs, it is not as well known as other Mexican cuisine, such as that of neighboring Oaxaca.