According to a group of researchers, the first Spanish colonies in Puerto Rico introduced European culinary traditions that merged with the customs of the Taino people, known for preparing meat and fish on barbecues. These researchers discovered a fragment of Spanish pottery on the island of Mona, in Puerto Rico, which they consider to be the oldest evidence of the use of wine in the Americas.
To investigate food habits in the Greater Antilles before and after the arrival of Europeans, the scientists used various molecular analysis techniques on 40 ceramic fragments from the 15th century found on the island. The results of the study suggest that early Spanish settlers on the island of Mona relied primarily on processing plant foods using ceramic objects rather than relying on European-style fish stews and dairy products.
Molecular analysis revealed that the ceramic jars contained products derived from arid-adapted vegetables such as maize or amaranth, with the exception of two Spanish olive vessels. In one of these olive jars, found in a cave, wine residues were detected.
This discovery provides direct evidence of the importation of European wine to a small Caribbean island shortly after the arrival of Spanish settlers. The indigenous people of the area were already cooking grilled fish and meat, and the term “barbacoa” was used by the Taino people.
Researchers suggest that local and Spanish culinary traditions merged, creating a unique gastronomic experience hundreds of years ago. Despite Spanish colonialism, the strong culinary traditions of the Taino people in the preparation of barbecues were maintained and influenced food around the world. This research contributes to the understanding and appreciation of the cultural heritage of the Caribbean community and its impact on today’s gastronomy.
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