Health, knowledge and flavors: Latin America in a single recipe book

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Latin American women share the recipes of their ancestral dishes in a very special recipe book

Health, knowledge and flavors: Latin America in a single recipe book

This cookbook, edited by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, is a compendium of 23 ancestral Latin American recipes that seeks to reclaim the identity of the peoples of the region, autonomous cultivation, and natural cooking.

Leer en español: Salud, saberes y sabores: Latinoamérica en un solo recetario

A cookbook for Latin American women

"Health, knowledge and flavors. Recovering the traditional culinary knowledge of women in Latin America and the Caribbean for the management and enrichment of food biodiversity", is the title and subtitle of this book that seeks to recognize the virtue of natural farming in rural areas, the diversity of fruits, vegetables, legumes and other natural products that come from Latin American soil.

This publication of FAO seeks to recognize the integrity of peasant women, who commit from the field and their homes the welfare, nutrition and health of the guests who come to their tables.



"When we look inland we find women who, day by day, maintain links, crops, care work and knowledge that allow us to bridge the countryside with the city," says the Women and Corn Collective of Amatenango del Valle in her account of experiences that was included in the introduction of the culinary summary.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations sees important to vindicate the role of women in the kitchen and to empower their work in order to strengthen their well-being, their autonomy, and their feelings. As well as, it is relevant to promote the gastronomic identity of a people that today needs healthier and more natural food.

A recipe for health

According to a FAO and the Pan American Health Organization's study conducted in 2018 , 350 million people in Latin America are overweight, which represents 58% of the total population in the region, while 6.1% (39, 9 million) suffer from hunger.

Read also: Latin American craftsmanship: the story of Mexico and Colombia

"The alarming rates of overweight and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean should become a wake-up call for governments to introduce policies that address all types of malnutrition," Eve Crowley, regional director of FAO, told the BBC.

For this reason, FAO proposes this compilation of recipes as a promotional strategy, not only in the cultural sense, but in a direction that promotes healthy habits when it comes to preparing food and consuming them, as well as the recognition of their economy.

"People have stopped eating traditional products and opt for those that have preservatives, sugars, fats, or salt. The initiative in this scenario arises to rescue the ancestral culinary practices and reduce the processed ones; They are cheaper and easier to use for conciliation", states Israel Ríos-Castillo, Nutrition Officer of FAO for Mesoamerica for the newspaper El País, adding that these dishes have a nutritional and family value. For example, red meats or deep green vegetables are good for anemia, he says.

Recipes for entrepreneurship

The participating recipes come from peasant women from Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ecuador, and 20 other countries, added in good taste and empowerment.

Many of them survive on the delicious dishes they prepare. For example, Daisy Bautista, from Dominican Republic, says that her grandmother and her mother were the ones who taught her how to cook. "My grandmother told us: come and look for them to learn, that you do not know what you are going to live in the future," he says in the book.

Through these stories and that of many other women, FAO has opened the page where rural women from across the region can share their gastronomic ventures and recipes in order to publicize their work and dedication.


You can read and put into practice the recipe book "Health, knowledge and flavors" by clicking here.  


LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Becerra
Translated from "Salud, saberes y sabores: Latinoamérica en un solo recetario"

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