Native American Foods in South America

Prior to European contact, South America was populated by hundreds of different tribes, each with its own culinary traditions. Diets varied widely from region to region, usually based around a primary ingredient. The coastal lowlands and Caribbean used manioc, dried and ground into flour for bread. Manioc was supplemented with fruits, fish, and small animals. Mexico, Central America, and the lower parts of the Andes used corn. The Aztecs ate corn formed into tortillas and filled with chiles, poultry, or fish. Andean natives toasted, popped, or cooked their corn, mixing it with chiles. The higher parts of the Andes mountains relied on the potato, as it could survive a wider temperature range. Other foods widely consumed in South America were beans, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, jicama, and the cocoa bean. Trade flourished between regions, bringing potatoes to the lowlands and peppers to the mountains. The arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s brought drastic changes to the region. Accustomed to the seasonal nature of life in Europe, settlers wrote enthusiastic letters home about the availability of fresh food throughout the year in a tropical climate. Although they adapted to the new foods of South America, they emphasized cultivation of their own familiar foods, including wheat, rice, peaches, cherries, and asparagus, and cattle for beef, milk, and butter. While these European foods were initially prized in the New World, they became commonly available. The Spanish also encouraged the growth of food, both European and American varieties, for export. Although South American tribes already had established trade routes in place for foodstuffs between geographical regions, the Spanish extended them. In Peru and other places, potatoes, beans, bananas, sugar, quinoa, wheat, and other produce traveled between mountains and coastal basins by llama. By the late 1500s, the Spanish were firmly established throughout Mexico and other parts of the continent. They also had come into contact with tribes in the southwestern part of North America, and tried their traditional food. Many of the natives had died from disease or warfare; the remaining population lived in places too isolated for contact or had been forced into working for the Spanish. The diet of the latter group now relied on European foods, especially wheat and beef. The Spanish also settled in Florida and the American Southwest, where similar exchanges of foodstuffs occurred. Healthy Recipes – South American Food Mapq8Bringing popular South American food fish to Florida — ScienceDaily Mapq8Native American Survival Skills SL Mapq8

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