The Panama, Colombia and Venezuela arepa connection
You’ve probably heard about how Italians and Chinese fight over who invented pasta. Well, with arepas is worse. Neighbor countries of Panama, Colombia and Venezuela each claim to be the sole vissionary who gave birth to an ubiqutous dish such as Arepa. But who is right?
Before asking ourselves which country started it all we should ask first which people started it all. Such a concern would take us to the Native Americans who, well, didn’t care much about contemporary political borders. These ancient dwellers of the Amazonia and Caribbean did share one thing before arepas became trendy for the conquistadors: the use of corn. Come on, they even made fermented drinks out of it, and their creation myths play with the idea of the Gods making an offering to man, and the offering was -of course- made of corn.
So it turns out that the Native Americans who were living in what today is Venezuela were the ones who baptized the meal with the name arepa, and that would technically give us a winner: the arepa is Venezuelan.
20th century inventions: All hail pre cooked corn-meal
It was the invention of the dehydrated pre-cooked corn flour and its later industrialization in the 60s that definitely turned Venezuela into the winner of the who-owns-arepa contest. The use of flour reduced preparation time considerably and with that change it became an ever present item of the Venezuelan menu.
As people had some extra time to dwell around the kitchen –before industrialization you were supposed to spend hours just preparing the dough- new ideas so as to how to stuff the arepa invaded Venezuela’s imagination: they stuffed the arepas with pork, with black beans, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, beef, chicken, butter, cheese, salads… to make the story short Venezuelans practically stuffed their arepas with their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can check out our winning selection.
Being this versatile, arepas were more than welcome into Venezuela’s booming activity. By the 60’s Venezuela was rapidly turning into a more urban country with its biggest cities becoming hostess to skyscrapers, large office hubs, universities, and touristic attractions. Arepas just followed the people and they too left the slow motion life of the country side and joined the urban life where they became an around the clock meal for everyone.
Arepas 24 hours: about how arepas became an around the clock meal
Life in the city is all about motion. You can move everywhere, do anything, and everywhere can move to you. As long as it never stops, everything is at hand reach Including food. Well, especially food. The food service business has understood that, and that’s why it’s more common to see restaurants acquiring some really interesting approaches so as to what to include in their menus, and how to shape their identity. Arepas have been spreading all around the globe, with great experiences in Amsterdam, London and Barcelona
You see, Arepas arepas are moving again. They’re following this global trend of motion, adaptation and remixing that has been so enthusiastically embraced. The experiment won’t fail, arepas are big winners when it comes to adaptation, nothing they haven’t done before.