An Introduction to This Fascinating Cuisine
Mexican food has evolved over the centuries into what it is today. The melting pot of cultures and cuisines responsible for contributing towards what we know today as Mexico’s cuisine includes African, Caribbean, Portuguese, Spanish and French dishes, amongst others. Mexico is also a very large country and each region has its own specialties and preferences.
Relevant History and Background
Mexican history is a fascinating subject and this cuisine as we know it can be traced back to the arrival of the Spanish explorers in the early 1600s. This later resulted in the Conquest of Mexico and this culture collision forced a fusion of Aztec and Spanish flavors together, resulting in a lot of the famous dishes we are familiar with today. Cheese, milk, wine, meat, garlic, and citrus are all local staples today but these came originally from the Spanish. Aztec ingredients include corn, squash, and beans.
Mexican food continued to evolve and Tex Mex food also emerged, which blends the flavors and cooking styles of the southwestern United States with northern Mexico. Local food, contrary to popular belief, is not all spicy.
South of the border dishes range from aromatic and mild to fiery hot. There are recipes for all occasions including soup, salad, pastries, stews, casseroles, rice dishes, sweet bread recipes, salsas, meat dishes, fish dishes, and a whole lot more.
It can be difficult to define typical Mexican food exactly, just because it is so varied. What somebody might eat on the east coast is also very different from the food eaten by someone living in the center of the country, just because of what is available in each place. Communities living by the sea are used to eating a lot of seafood, for example, so many local dishes include fish and seafood. More inland, where seafood is either not available or more expensive, beef and chicken are more popular.
There are certain things that regional meals do have in common however, and one of those is the use of fresh produce. Mexicans love to cook with fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh meat and fish wherever possible. Herbs and spices add the finishing accents to those wonderful meals and there are certainly a lot to choose from.
The Best Cooking Tips
If you want to explore the world of this tempting cuisine, the best advice is to jump right it. Pick a recipe you like the look of and make it. You will be delighted that so many of these dishes are so simple to prepare. Easy recipes are not lackluster recipes however, and fresh produce has so much flavor of its own that you simply do not have to add lots of other ingredients to give these authentic dishes their unmistakable flavor. Choose the best, ripest, and most flavorful ingredients and let those ingredients do the talking.
If you are a newcomer to this kind of cooking, you might like to learn about the various food staples. Corn is one of the key food ingredients in Mexico’s recipes. It was the main staple of the Aztec diet and it is primary used in Mexico today for making tortillas.
Beans are another staple and these are healthy as well as economical and filling. Local cheese, chilies, cilantro, avocado, beef, chicken, and tomatoes are also popular ingredients in the cuisine and it is fun to make a range of recipes, so you can experiment with these flavorful ingredients and more.
Enjoy and watch out for the hot spots.
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