In this blog, authenticity and traditions about Salvadoran food matters. My name is Alicia Maher, I want to share with everyone the rich culinary traditions of El Salvador, and the fascinating history that shaped it. I am proud to have been born El Salvador, as I am to be a citizen of the beautiful United States of America. I live in Los Angeles area, home to more than a million and a half immigrants from El Salvador. For more than twenty-five years I have been cooking for family and friends authentic and traditional Salvadoran food.
For my first blog, I am sharing an excerpt from the introduction to my cookbook, and a link to the archeological site Joya de Ceren in the Western part of El Salvador. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/675/.
El Salvador is a beautiful country with many volcanoes, lakes, rivers and mountains. Nourished by the sunshine and tropical rains, the soil is rich and supports an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Its access to the Pacific Ocean provides this Central American jewel with an amazing variety and catch of fresh seafood all year round.
Salvadoran cuisine evolved from the union of two cultures – the indigenous Pipil and the Spanish – blending their ingredients and traditions. The ancient Pipil diet consisted of native foods like corn, beans, squash, pumpkin, tomato, potato, yucca, chayote, green beans, fresh fish, wild turkey and other small game. Cooking artifacts found at the archeological site of Joya de Cerén indicate that the world-famous Salvadoran Pupusas were a daily staple over a millennium ago.
With the arrival of the Spanish at the beginning of the 16th century, a new agriculture burgeoned in El Salvador. The influx of livestock such as beef, pork and other fowl adapted and prospered in the fertile land. The Spanish also introduced new grains and dairy products like rice and cheese, as well as, herbs from the Mediterranean. Parsley, oregano, mint, thyme and bay laurel easily flourished in the lush valleys and mountains of El Salvador and became a major influence on Salvadoran cuisine. These new ingredients took root and the European ways of cooking perfectly interconnected with the native ingredients and dishes. Thus, a new and distinct authentic gourmet Salvadoran cuisine was born.