The Hispanic population is the fastest growing segment in the U.S. and earlier this year, it reached a milestone, surpassing the 50 million mark. The growing influence of Hispanic culture in the U.S. has become more and more apparent in almost every aspect of American life, but nowhere is this influence more evident than in the food category,where along with this exploding population has come an explosion of exciting and piquant flavors.

The real deal

A gastronomic revolution has taken America by storm, as Mexican taquerias, Cuban canteens, and Brazilian steakhouses have cropped up in cities and towns across the nation. Hispanic brands have also migrated from specialty shops to mainstream supermarkets. Now, Americans with a curious palate do not have to look any further than their local eateries and the main aisles of their grocery stores for authentic Hispanic foods.

Redefine dinnertime

"You can reinvent mealtime by adding a little culture to the mix. The savory aromas will entice the entire family to come to the dinner table and the interesting, robust flavors will have them begging for seconds."

Even though Hispanic food has found its place on Main Street and is widely enjoyed by Americans, some are still reluctant to take their love of this cuisine to the kitchen. Although the flavors and textures are quite complex, Hispanic cuisine is fairly easy to replicate at home and is an easy, nutritious way to revamp the traditional meal of “meat and potatoes.”

Spice and everything nice

Most dishes are prepared from very simple, fresh ingredients to achieve their distinctively bold flavors—cumin, oregano, cilantro, chiles, garlic, and lime are all ingredients that can tantalize the taste buds and add a little gusto to almost any meal. Meat and poultry can be infused with all sorts of delicious sauces and seasonings; and a smaller portion of meat, supplemented by beans offers a healthier alternative without sacrificing the amount of protein.

While beans are con- sidered bland by some, they are amazing flavor carriers and can be incorporated in a number of zesty side-dishes. Yucca is to Hispanic cuisine, what the potato is to North American cooking—it can be fried, boiled, baked, or grilled to perfection and served alongside a traditional Hispanic meal.

A perfect pairing

A refreshing beer is thought to be the perfect complement to the extroverted spiciness of Hispanic food; however, this sophisticated cuisine has a range of bold and nuanced flavors, which can be calmed or enhanced by wine. Wines that are fruity or high in acid can balance out the flavors of any of these culinary creations. Next time you’re indulging in Hispanic cuisine,be sure to uncork the flavor with a bottle of wine.

Dinner is served

You can reinvent mealtime by adding a little culture to the mix. The savory aromas will entice the entire family to come to the dinner table and the interesting, robust flavors will have them begging for seconds.