Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Here at the Meltingpot we firmly believe that one of the best ways to learn something about a different culture is to eat. When I lived as an exchange student in Morocco, I wasn't accepted into the family until I thrust my hand into a bowl of cous cous, savored the flavor of freshly slaughtered lamb and drank glass after glass of sweet mint tea. Once I ate, I destroyed the walls between my host family and myself, the walls between foreigner and family. I began to really understand Moroccan culture through the food and the daily rituals of preparing it.
Now, I'm not saying we're going to change the world here with the information that I'm about to share but...
Cinnabon is now selling churros. What is a churro? Well, depends who you ask.
At its most basic, a churro is a long piece of fried dough, usually rolled in sugar and sometimes stuffed with sweet things like chocolate or fruit preserves. Popular in Spanish speaking countries, here's a little history of the up and coming snack/dessert from the website Churrisimo Cafe.
Churros are traditional Spanish desserts developed centuries ago by Spanish shepherds. Up high in the mountains, fresh baked goods were impossible to come by, so the ingenious, nomadic folk of the hills came up with a delicious cake-like, cylindrical, daily staple which they could easily cook in a pan over an open fire. This was the birth of churros.
Originally churros were about the size of a breadstick, and they were eaten plain or rolled in cinnamon sugar. In Spain, churros are still a very popular breakfast, snack or dessert. But something this tasty wasn’t destined to remain in its country of origin.
It was only a matter of time before churros traveled to South America and other Hispanic countries and communities, eventually making their way to North America.
Once churros were adopted by peoples outside of Spain, they continued to evolve. Instead of being eaten plain, or rolled in sugar, a hollow, jumbo-sized churro was created, and stuffed with all kinds of delectable fillings such as chocolate, dulce de leche and fruit.
So depending on where you are, your churro will look and taste different. At Cinnabon, your churro may look and taste like this, from a reviewer onChowhound.com:
"I wouldn't say it was a spiral, it was in the traditional churros shape of the piping-tip star. The filling was weird--definitely a corn starch based cinnamony goo. The exterior was crispy and nicely coated in cinnamon sugar, and the interior was soft, and bordering on doughy closer to the filling."
I for one can never go to Spain without eating churros y chocolate as often as possible. If you have no immediate plans to go to Spain or Latin America, maybe you could head over to your local mall, find a Cinnabon and taste a little bit of Hispanic flavor and culture. Better yet, find a Hispanic restaurant or bakery (in good conscience, I cannot endorse the churros being sold in the subways of NYC.)and see if you can taste the real thing.
But we gotta give Cinnabon props for introducing the Churro to America's masses.