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Lifestyle

‘Amor a la Mexicana!’

 

A spicy taste of Mexican cuisine

 

The history of traditional Mexican food is very varied and rich. While people outside of Mexico often think of the oils and hot spices as being an “autograph” for the area, there’s also a boundless diversity in flavors and smells.

 

Ancient Aztec Influence on the History of Mexican Cuisine

Centuries ago, Aztec agricultural systems had a colossal impact on how the history of traditional Mexican food would progress. Aztecs lived in a valley district that allowed for a pleasant variety of comestible vegetation. They created floating gardens on the accessible water sources. The food gardens of the Aztecs comprised almost all the main foods seen today in authentic Mexican dishes, including corn, beans, and of course, chilies!

 

Other garden items, highlighted heavily in Aztec and Mayan cuisine, include many ingredients that you witness nowadays in traditional Mexican sauces like Mole sauce, and other foods in Mexican cuisine. Some of these are:

 

·         Achiote seed (used as a paste)

·         Amaranth (used both in religious ceremonies and as a daily food)

·         Avacado (used as both a fruit and, strangely enough, a spice)

·         Cactus (was eaten both raw and cooked)

·         Chayotes (a squash-like vegetable)

·         Edible Flowers

·         Squash

·         Tomatillos (the same ones found in Mexican cuisine today, particularly in salsas)

·         Yuca root (a tuber that is sort of like potato)

 

Mexican Food History

The 1500s

When the Spaniards came to Mexico, they found the Aztecs were eating meals with corn, tropical fruit, wild game, fish, and beans. The early Mayans in Mexico cooked their food over an open flame or steamed it, as with tamales.

 

The Spanish Adapt Ancient Foods

The next step in the evolving history of traditional Mexican food is its adaptation by this new culture: The Spanish. The Spanish adapted the cooking methods and ingredients found in Mexico into their own culture, such as:

 

·         Olives and olive oil

·         Spices from the East (such as cumin)

·         Citrus

·         Arab influences and cooking methods (from Spain’s ties to the Arab world)

 

 

Quesadillas and enchiladas are good examples of the ways the Spanish affected the history of Mexican cuisine. 

 

Colonial Era

After the Spanish colonized Mexico, the history of traditional Mexican food continued to adapt, and some of the most famous Mexican dishes we know today were developed.

 

Guacamole: Mexican Dip Recipe

 

Ingredients:

3 avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed

1 lime, juiced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup diced onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper 

 

Preparation:

1. Mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt.

2. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic.

3. Stir in cayenne pepper.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.