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.