1. INTRODUCTION Brazil is a land of diverse culture and people, due to being part of the former colonial empire belonging to Portugal. It is the only country in South America to have Portuguese as its national language instead of Spanish. Along with this colonization, Brazil would see a huge surge of culture from many immigrant populations that would appear over the centuries. A big part of this culture, however, would be cuisine. Brazil being a land of immigrants and colonist would become the largest country in South America stretching through many different regions of the continent, further diversifying their food culture.
With so much food and culture that began to shape from the culture of immigrants of different origins, much Brazilian cuisine has fused with other cultures to create their own unique foods. Some of these foods have made it to the United States through Brazilian immigrants. There has been much political and economic instability in Brazil during the late twentieth Century which has been the main reason for emigration from the large South American country (Riedinger, 2008). Some of these immigrants end up settling down in the United States. There has been a very sparse migration history of Brazilians to the U. S. Recently Brazil has been seeing a large growth in its economy and political stability.
Brazilians to the U. S. have brought their unique culture, diverse foods, and its wonderful hospitality to the U. S. to share and spread to a new land, similar to how the Portuguese colonist extended their culture to Brazil, along with the immigrants of many different nations that brought their customs to that country when it was still newly developing. The Portuguese were the first to colonize the land we now know as Brazil, making the national language of Brazil Portuguese instead of Spanish like the surrounding countries.
Indigenous populations lived in Brazil before Portuguese explorers discovered it for Europe. This allowed Indigenous cultures cuisine to be mixed with the newly added European cuisine later on. Brazil was also the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery in 1888. There were a large amount of slaves that were in Brazil during the time of abolishment and this is how the added African culture found its way into Brazil. A demand for workers after the abolishment of slavery created a surge of immigrants to the new growing country.
Among these European immigrants were also Asian immigrants, as well as Middle Eastern immigrants. This history created what is today known as the melting pot of Brazil. Brazilian immigration to the United States was not documented well. This was mainly because they were “identified by immigration agencies as “Hispanic,” “Latino,” and “South” or “Latin” American (Riedinger, 2008). Brazilians who immigrated to the U. S. were mainly of the upper and middle class. They mainly settled down in California, Florida, and New York. From 1920-2008 the U. S. as seen a large increase in Brazilian immigration. The largest amount of Brazilian immigrants incoming to the United States was in the late 20th Century. Brazilian food is unique in itself and the most well-known things that Brazilians brought to the United States were traditional dances and the food itself which were not seen in the U. S. until Brazilians entered the country and brought the recipes with them.
III. BRAZILIAN IMPACT ON U. S. CUISINE Brazil’s main impact on cuisine in the U. S. has been largely its introductions of new foods to the U. S. Brazil has many cultural dishes because of the many regions and cultures that can be found in the country. Brazil’s most famous dish that can be found in the U. S. is the Feijoada. One rumor is that Feijoada, Brazil’s national dish, was originally created by Slaves in Brazil and eventually became consumed by the masses, but this is not entirely true. Black beans originated in South America, but Europeans did use them in their own cuisines. Even the name, Feijoada, is of Portuguese origin. “Feijoada itself, is a derivation of European dishes like cassoulet, the Madrid cooked stew and the Portuguese Caldeirada.
These recipes crossed the sea and came to Brazil, especially with the Portuguese” (Rose, 2013). The feijoada is a dish made from black beans, rice, and meat. Its origins lie in Northern Portugal and it found its way to Brazil and quickly became the national dish. Brazil has also introduced many other foods to the U. S. , such as their own unique take on meat pies. One of such is coxinha. Coxinha is shredded chicken which is used as filling inside a breadcrumb outer shell that is shaped to look like a chicken thigh. The name coxinha derives from the snack’s peculiar drop shop, mocking chicken drumstick” (Teixeira, 2010). Another dish widely eaten in Brazil and introduced to the U. S. is Farofa. It is “a side dish commonly served with meat, rice, and beans and is almost always found at churrascos(barbecues)”(Saskia Ghirotti, 2013). There are many more Brazilian foods that were introduced to the United States, but these are just a few of these great cultural exchanges.
IV. SUMMARY/CONCLUSION AND LEARNING EXPERIENCE Overall, Brazil has a wonderful culture be it, cuisine, dance, or historical origin. All of these things helped to shape the country into what it is today as it continues to increase stability and grow economically. Brazil’s foundation was built upon being a land of immigrants, much like the U. S. This diversified and turned the country into a large melting pot, mixing Indigenous, African, European, Asian, and even some Middle Eastern culture into it. Having these cultures affected Brazil’s cuisine in a positive way, making many hearty and rich dishes for the country. Even the small snacks are unique to the country on their own.
Early economic turmoil and instability created many surges of immigrants to the U. S. , mainly of the upper and middle class, but with them came the many dishes that you could only find in their country. Some Brazilians went into the food service industry and these people helped to spread their cuisine and knowledge of cooking to other countries around the world, including the U. S. I learned many things about Brazil from this research project along with the presentation that we organized in class. Most of the information that I learned was about the general culture and cuisine in Brazil.
I learned about many dishes that I have never heard of before. I didn’t even know what to expect from Brazilian food as I originally had no reference to what it actually was. I enjoyed learning about another culture that I have not learned about before and it allowed me learn about the food of Brazil and its origins. This assignment allowed me to explore through information that I have never seen before and allowed me to try Brazilian food first hand, as I don’t think I would have ever tried it without this project and I really enjoyed it.