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Argentine Culture, Food and Diet Edit

European influences are pervasive in today’s Argentina, and these are reflected in Argentine art, literature, lifestyle and cuisine. However, Argentina was able to develop a culture uniquely its own despite having been colonized by European countries such as Spain and France.

A People That Wouldn’t Be Conquered Edit

The Diaguita from the north and the Guarani from the south and east were the two main nomadic and indigenous groups that developed Argentina’s agricultural civilization through maize cultivation. It was the Diaguita that successfully fought off the Incas from expanding its empire into Argentina from what is now known as Bolivia.

In the early 16th century, the natives resisted Spain’s attempts at colonization until Buenos Aires’ establishment towards the end of the century. Argentina’s proud rebels, however, succumbed to diseases from Europe, and this weakened their resistance to conquerors. Three centuries later, the French captured King Ferdinand VII of Spain and this put Argentina under France. Argentines rebelled and in 1816, a separatist party declared independence for Argentina.

A Country of Immigrants Edit

When European immigrants entered Argentina in droves, Argentina’s pre-Columbian cultures began its demise. Instead, a new culture brought about by French, Irish, Italians, Germans and British immigrants began to take shape.

Of its nearly 40 million inhabitants, 97% of the population is white (predominantly of Spanish and Italian descent) while the rest are mestizos, Amerindians and non-whites. In this Spanish speaking country, Italians are the single largest immigrant group. Argentina is predominantly Roman Catholic (92%) and the population speaks English, Italian, German and French in addition to 17 native languages..

Argentine Culture: A Blend of European Influences Edit

Argentina can be considered a European diaspora – French, Irish, Italians, Germans and British settlers made this country their home, put up their roots and let the land imbibe their culture and mix with the local Argentine culture. The result is a uniquely Argentine identity that is reflected in its literature, art, lifestyle and cuisine.

Because of its European influences, Argentines have taken on European trends and lifestyle. In literature, Argentina’s cross-cultural relationship with Europe produced notable writers and authors like Jorge Luis Borges, Ernesto Sabato and Osvaldo Soriano. In dance, Argentina is renowned for tango. Architecture and sculpture have strong European influences.

The Argentine Food and Diet Edit

The Argentine diet is high in protein in the form of meat, particularly beef and lamb, which is usually grilled. However, pizza, pasta, tea, German beer and Welsh cakes are part of this South American country’s diet, thanks to European immigrants who passed on European recipes from generation to generation until they became part of the Argentine culinary landscape.

Argentina’s specialties are not for the squeamish and picky, though. “Meat” dishes can mean and have almost any animal parts – udders, intestines, tripe, kidneys, livers… you name it. However, because this is a country where European influences extend to food, Italian and British alternatives to these meat dishes are never in short supply.

In addition to meat, fish and shellfish are a part of Argentine diet. So, too, are potatoes and pasta. In terms of flavorings, Argentines much prefer European seasonings instead of spicy and hot. One recipe is living proof of the merging of European and South American cultures to make it truly Argentina’s own: the chimichurri, a sauce that’s a cross between Italian vinaigrette and Mexican salsa. It’s an ever-present sauce that also doubles as marinade to make grilled Argentine meat dishes even more delicious.

Very popular dishes in Argentina are empanada and dulce de leche. Empanada is pastry that contains meat, olives and onions, and served with chimichurri. They are great as snacks or starters. Dulce de leche, on the other hand, is a dessert made from caramelized milk and sugar that is also used as fillings for cakes and in puddings.

More about Argentinean Culture Edit

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