From the Wikipedia: Empanadas

I’m hungry. From the Wikipedia: Empanadas.

Empanadas are stuffed pastries originally from the Iberian Peninsula. They get their name from the Spanish verb “empanar,” which means “to bread.” They are most often filled with some form of meat, and are for the most part completely awesome.

The Wikipedia believes that empanadas were derived from muaajanat, savory pastries popular among the 8th century Berbers that invaded the area in the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry for muaajanat, but it’s safe to say they were delicious.

Empanadas were first brought to the Americas by European colonists, though I imagine they were stale by the end of the boat ride.

Today, 22 different nations can claim varieties of the empanada. Empanadas are made with a variety of ingredients and prepared in a variety of ways, and the empanada’s Wikipedia page is amazingly exhaustive. It’s worth a read, but I’d like to highlight a few details:

– Medellin, Colombia apparently boasts a city-wide love of pork and chorizo meats. I’m investigating accommodations.

– El Salvadorian empanadas are not really empanadas at all, but fried plantains stuffed with sweet cream. So probably still really good.

– Empanadas in the Mexican state of Hidalgo are known as pastes, and were brought to the region not by Spanish colonists, but by British miners. They get their name from Cornish pasties, which are also available in Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan and which are way too dry.

– The list of similar dishes includes stromboli, knishes and Hot Pockets. “Stromboli Knishes and the Hot Pockets” would be a decent name for a band.

Nearly every carnivorous culture has come up with some sort of way to wrap some sort of meat in some sort of bread: the sandwich, the meat pie, the burrito, the beef patty, the pork bun, the gyro, the pupusa, the corn dog, the schwarma.

I could continue, but you get the point. Meats wrapped in breads are about as universal as creation myths, and usually way more satisfying. Their ubiquity should be a source of pride for the human race.

And thanks to globalization, they are available in ever-increasing varieties. This is one of the reasons it’s great to be alive and hungry* in the 21st century.

*Not hungry in the starving sense obviously. Hungry like a guy who is about to enjoy an empanada.

9 thoughts on “From the Wikipedia: Empanadas

  1. Stuffed food products: If you ever find yourself in Saratoga, hit up Esperanto and get a doughboy. It’s cheese, cream cheese, chicken, onions, and some variety of spices, all wrapped up inside pizza dough. The thing is maybe the size of a regular Taco Bell burrito. Throw a little bit of hot sauce on each bite and it. is. awesome. One of my top drunk foods ever.

  2. Empanadas are awesome. My fiance is half Columbian and her father (the Columbian side) is a chef who owns a couple of Columbian restuarants. He makes phenomenal empanadas. Only problem is he is an ass and lives in Florida so we never see him.

    On the bright side, there is a deli right down the street from my office run by a nice family from Paraguay, and lucky for all parties involved, they also make awesome empanadas.

  3. Speaking of food, did that pie eating contest happen last night? I left a bit early so I may have missed it. Anyways, it was great to actually meet you last night (we spoke briefly about Birdhouses) and would love to attend another event like that if it happens.

    • Ha, no pie-eating contest went down. Honestly I thought about asking Will to set one up but then realized a ride home on Metro North with my face and hair sticky from pie would be pretty rough. Nice meeting you too, though, and will definitely post future events.

  4. “Empanadas were first brought to the Americas by European colonists, though I imagine they were stale by the end of the boat ride.”

    One of the more amusing lines I’ve ever read on a blog, but then, I’m pretty hammered right now from my office holiday party. I could really go for an empanada at the moment. Or that thing that Catsmeat was talking about, even.

    But what I really want is some Hot Truck. (Any other Cornellians reading?)

  5. Caramel Apple?

    But yea, empanadas and beef patties = how i got through college. And come to think of it, it’s how i got through this week too.

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