Buen Provecho Restaurant
When I took my nutrition food and culture as part of my DPD, we had to do a feature on a country. My partner and nutrition buddy, Raquel Merced, is part Puerto Rican so we decided to explore more of her heritage through our project.
We had to include some sort of food interaction for the project and found Buen Provecho Foodtruck. The best part was interviewing the owner, Elmer Passapera. He was such a great sport! He’s so well spoken and knowledgeable. His passion for bringing Puerto Rican food to the Georgia public definitely showed. His point of view of the Puerto Rican food and culture as a business owner and a Puerto Rican himself was very insightful and super helpful.
They opened up a restaurant earlier this year in Marietta, GA. I can’t wait to try it out!
Here’s a snippet of the Puerto Rican Food and Culture that we worked on:
- Archipelago in the Caribbeans
- Capital: San Juan
- Tropical Climate
- Varying Ecosystems:
- Dry Forests
- Rain Forests
- Mountainous Areas
- Territory of United States with Commonwealth Status
- Spanish & English only official languages
Cocina Criolla “Creole Cooking”
- Core foods – rice and beans
- Subcore foods – plantains, pork, red meat, and seafood
- Sofrito – onions, garlic, coriander, cilantro, and oregano
- Adobo – crushed peppercorns, oregano, garlic, salt, and onion
- Sazon – salt, ground black pepper, garlic, coriander seed, cumin, oregano, and anatto seeds
- Rich volcanic soil & climate perfect for growing coffee.
- Puerto Ricans enjoy coffee in three ways:
- Espresso – black
- Cortadito – espresso with a small amount of steamed milk
- Cafe con Leche – coffee, milk & sugar
Religious and Historic Influence on Food Habits
- Long Christmas celebration
- Three King’s Day
- Food as part of celebration
- Roasted pork, seasoned rice and beans, fried plantains, bananas, yam, plantains, yucca, arroz con dulce (rice, spices, milk, coconut milk, sugar), coquito (coconut milk and rum), turron (hard white nougat with almonds), tembleque (custard)
- Similar to Spanish, Cuban & Mexican
- Influences from Spain, Africa,Taino & United States
- Slavery & poverty – established rice and beans as a staple
Societal Influence on Food Habits
- Mothers highly respected
- Mothers purchase and prepare foods
- Mothers serve the food
- Breastfeeding common and encouraged
- Food essential to celebrations
- Food used to honor friends and family
- Food used to escape everyday stress
Hot Versus Cold Foods
- Hot illnesses treated with “Cold” foods
- Rashes, acne, headaches, heart disease treated with salt, beans, alcohol, cocoa products
- Cold illnesses treated with “Hot” foods
- Respiratory illness and menstruation treated with fruits, rice, onions, milk, sugar
- Puerto Ricans – high intakes of:
- refined grains
- fried foods
- whole milk versus fat-free or low-fat milk
- Over consumption of refined carbohydrates, fats, sodium, and protein
- Under consumption of vegetables
- Teens and adults starting to consume processed and fast food items
Noel S, Tucker K, Ordovas J, Newby P. A Traditional Rice and Beans Pattern Is Associated with Metabolic Syndrome in Puerto Rican Older Adults. Journal Of Nutrition [serial online]. July 2009;139(7):1360-1367. Available from: Agricola, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 2, 2014.
Fernández N, Burgos J, Asenjo C, Rosa I. Nutritional status of the Puerto Rican population: master sample survey. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition [serial online]. August 1971;24(8):952-965. Available from: MEDLINE with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 2, 2014.
Welcome to Puerto Rico. Food and Drinks. Welcome to Puerto Rico. http://www.topuertorico.org/culture/foodrink.shtml. Published 1995. Updated 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Cuadra CMO. Eating Puerto Rico: A History of Food, Culture and Identity. South Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press; 2013.
Framingham State College. Puerto Rico. Framingham. http://www.framingham.edu/food-and-nutrition/documents/puerto-rico.pdf. Published 2008. Accessed October 20, 2014.