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Costa Rica - Cooking and Food Edit


The cuisine of Costa Rica has been greatly influenced due to colonization and invasions of the region. The recorded history of Costa Rica tends to begin with Christopher Columbus, who stayed for 17 days in 1502, and was so impressed by the gold decorations worn by the friendly locals that he promptly dubbed the country as Costa Rica meaning “the rich coast”. Despite the lure of untold wealth of the region, colonization was slow to take hold and it took nearly 60 years for the Spanish settlers to make a dent in the tangled jungle. Once the process of invasion and colonization had begun in the region, like its similarly colonized neighbors, Costa Rica also landed up in suffering the effects of European invasion. With that done, the true and authentic culture of Costa Rica was effected as well. Today you are bound to find a lot of variety and diversity in the cuisine of Costa Rica due to the massive influence the colonizers and invaders left upon it.

Cuisines of Costa Rica Edit

Map of Costa Rica

Map of Costa Rica- Click to enlarge

The Costa Rican cuisine is simple and chefs normally shun spices. Comida Tipica, or native dishes greatly rely on rice and beans which is the basis of many Costa Rican meals. The “Home-style” type of cooking predominates the cuisine of Costa Rica. The meals are generally wholesome. Gallo Pinto, which is the national dish in the cuisine of Costa Rica, is made out of fried rice and black beans. Many of the meals in the cuisine of Costa Rica are derivatives, including arroz con pollo (rice and Chicken) or arroz con Tuna. Commonly at lunch Gallo Pinto is the main dish. This is made with rice and beans supplemented with cabbage and tomato salad, fried plantains and meat. It is noted that vegetables do not form an integral part of the Cost Rican diet, therefore there would be hardly any dishes on vegetables in the cuisine of Costa Rica. Food staples include carne (Beef, sometimes called bistek), pollo (Chicken), and pescado (fish) in the cuisine of Costa Rica.

Preparation Methods for Costa Rican Cooking Edit

There are a few preparation methods to keep in mind before making your Costa Rican meal. Preparing food in Costa Rica does not present any health problems that can plague the unwary traveler elsewhere in Central America, but you need to be aware that the pesticide use in Costa Rica is unregulated. Therefore, when you are preparing your Costa Rican meal always wash the vegetables in water that is known to be safe. Make sure that any fruits that you are using while preparing the Costa Rican meal should be peeled off yourself as you might never know where someone else’s hands have been. It is better to stick to staples such as bananas and oranges. Remember, to use proper silverware. It is better to stick to the way the locals prepare their meals which will most definitely mean that the food you will be preparing from the cuisine of Costa Rica will be tasty and delicious.

Special Equipment for Costa Rican Cooking Edit

There is no specified ‘special’ equipment that you would require for your Costa Rican meal. Common stoves, ovens, non-sticky pots and pans are some of the useful utensils that you will need for your Costa Rican cuisine cooking. It is always suggested to use wooden stirrers rather than the stainless steel ones. You will find many meat dishes in the Costa Rican cuisine; therefore metal skewers can play to your advantage. Grills are also very handy for a few of the meat dishes. You can find most of this equipment for cooking your scrumptious traditional Costa Rican cuisine, in almost all food departmental stores around you. A few sharp edged knives for threading meat, a medium sized pot for the stews and soups are also helpful utensils that you might need while preparing your Costa Rican cuisine. Cooking a Costa Rican meal is not a difficult job at all, it is fun, and with having all the right equipment at hand can make your cooking even more enjoyable.

Costa Rican Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

The food traditions and festivals that are prevalent in Costa Rica are quite unique. Till this day the Costa Ricans are very conservative where their family is concerned. The family ties in the region are extremely strong. Most of the food traditions and festivals rotate around the family from the time a baby is born into the family till the time of death. A few of the tremendously vital family traditions are: baptisms, first communions, engagement parties, weddings and funerals. All of these events are attended by the extended family as well as by a large quantity of friends and their family members. With these traditions comes a whole lot of traditional cuisine of Costa Rica to be served to their guests. There are also several significant religious celebrations, which also involve grand festivity and abundant food celebrations. The main religious occasions are: Easter Week or Semana Santa, Christmas Week and August second. In these religious occasions the Costa Ricans celebrate with grand festivity by serving their immense array of traditional cuisine.

People in Costa Rican Food Edit

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