Early Colonial Florida Spanish Recipe
While 16th and 17th century food traditions in Spain come from across Europe and the Mediterranean, they are also heavily influenced by Middle Eastern/Muslim cultures that controlled most of the country for hundreds of years. Spain also incorporated culinary customs adopted from Asia and Spanish colonies in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. Spices obtained from all over the world made Spanish cooking extremely flavorful and unique! Spanish settlers brought many of these food traditions to Florida in the 16th century, and learned new foodways practices from Florida’s Native peoples!
The Spanish brought many foods to Florida (and the Americas) that are commonly eaten today. One major change to the landscape of Florida was the Spanish introduction of domesticated animals to provide favored meats, like beef, pork, and chicken! Olive oil and wine (brought over to the colonies in large earthenware jars) were essential staples for any Spanish kitchen. Fruits (like peaches, figs, and watermelons), nuts and beans (like almonds, field peas, and garbonzo beans) and spices (like saffron, cinnamon, and different types of peppers) were brought to Florida from all over the world. Spanish heritage is still alive in these foods!
Now take the opportunity to watch a Mission San Luis “villager” (costumed living hisotry interpreter) discussing the ingredients and process of making Spanish Chicken in Almond Sauce (Gallina en pepitoria)