Native American Food Research Paper

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Following the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century, many European countries supported expeditions to the New World. These voyages resulted in the transoceanic trade of ideas, disease, and culture between the Old World and the new. However, crop foods was the dominant trade item between the two worlds because food was essential for survival during the long voyages and required minimal amounts of communication and understanding for trading. European culture and cuisine was more impacted by transoceanic trade than Central America through the introduction and integration of crop foods, including cacao, maize, and potatoes. The transoceanic trade between Europe and Central America tremendously impacted European culture…show more content…
The other American crops were integrated into European culture and cuisine because they were analogous to foods in Europe. Staple crops, including maize and potatoes, from the New World were more suitable for the European climate than the Old World crops. "In many instances, the New World foods, such as cacao, maize, and potatoes, had an important effect on the evolution of local cuisines"(Nunn and Qian, 2010, p. 167). Cacao was a major aspect of Mesoamerican culture, including the myths and hieroglyphics of Mayan civilization, but cacao slowly obtained its new identity into European culture. In the Americans, chocolate was not consumed in solid form, but as a drink described as "fit only for pigs" by an Italian explorer. Cacao beans arrived in Europe around the 1520s, when Europeans gradually became accustomed to the exotic taste with the addition of Old World sugar and New World vanilla to the chocolate drink. Cacao was not meant to replace Old World crops, but to complement them by enhancing the flavor. The cacao drink spread from Spain and then to the popular chocolate houses in France and to the other parts of Europe. New technologies developed various concoctions of American chocolate mixed with milk, wine,…show more content…
These influential crop foods initially flourished in southern Mexican-Central America that housed the largest number of these crop foods that eventually dispersed to the far reaches of the world. These food crops from the New World, not only made its way to Europe, but also spread to the Mediterranean and the far reaches of Asia. "Many of the plants that the American Indians found wild in sufficient abundance have been introduced into cultivation during the past four hundred years." The introduction of the New World food crops altered the future of local cuisine in many of these areas. Tomatoes became the base of many Mediterranean and Italian dishes, such as pasta sauce, while the Chili pepper was added to Korean kimchee and Indian curry for a spicy flavor. New World food crops greatly impacted the cuisine of many areas, such that it led to a decrease in hunger and an explosion in population growth. As Historian Alfred Crosby said, "The coming together of the continents was a prerequisite for the population explosion of the past two centuries, and certainly played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. The transfer across the ocean of the staple food crops of the Old and New World made possible the former"(Nunn and Qian, 2010, p. 167). Many counties around the world were impacted by the transoceanic trade between the

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