Facts About Mexican History and Mexican Recipes
Mexican recipes form a big part of Mexican history and it is interesting to learn how this mouthwatering and fascinating cuisine developed over the ages. The Mayan Indians were hunter-gatherers and they lived in the Yucatan region, which is in the southeast of Mexico. Rabbits, deer, raccoons, rattlesnakes, armadillos, and turtles were popular Mayan meats. Beans, corn, and tropical fruits were also used to make meals. This cuisine still exists in Mexico but it is thought of as exotic and known as “pre-Hispanic cuisine.”
The Mexican diet was actually very simple before any European colonists arrived. The early Mexicans were happy to eat corn, chilies, beans, fish, and meat. Tomatoes, mushrooms, herbs and a few other ingredients like vanilla, chocolate, and avocadoes were used too.
Spanish and French Influences
The Spanish arrived in the middle of the sixteenth century, bringing with them pork, chicken, onions, garlic, rice and cheese, amongst other ingredients. The arrival of these Spanish foods resulted in currently popular dishes like chilies rellenos (stuffed chilies), quesadillas (flour tortillas fried with cheese), and lomo en adobo (pork in a spiced sauce).
The French brought a lot of baked goods to Mexico with them and Mexico’s popular sweet breads can be traced back to old French recipes. Flavorful and aromatic native Mexican ingredients like avocadoes and tomatoes were well suited to French cooking methods. As well as Spanish and French influences, Mexican cuisine contains influences from South America, Africa, Portugal, and the Caribbean. There is also a Filipino influence, which dates back to the sixteenth to nineteenth century Manila to Acapulco galleon trade.
Tex Mex Food and Other Offshoots
Because Mexican food is so popular, there are other cuisines related to it, which have sprung up. Tex Mex is the best known and this food is a combination of traditional Mexican recipes with American dishes from the southern states. Tex Mex food is very tasty in its own right but should not be confused with Mexican food because they are two different cuisines.
Refried beans are a Texan dish, for example, and fajitas are Tex Mex rather than authentic Mexican. There is also a New Mexican cuisine, which started in the New Mexico state and is also popular in Colorado. This is similar to Tex Mex food.
Modern Mexican Meals
There is a lot of difference between Mexican food in the different regions of Mexico today, mainly because the country is so big. Local geography, ethnic differences, and climate have influenced the popularity of certain foods. For example, the southeast of Mexico is famous for its spicy chicken and vegetable dishes, the Mexican states bordering the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean are famed for their seafood recipes, and the north of Mexico is better known for its beef recipes.
Learning how and when different ingredients were introduced to mainstream Mexican cooking is very interesting and there are lots of ingredients, such as cheese and onions, that people might not have realized were not Mexican ingredients to start off with. It is fascinating to find out the origins of your favorite Mexican food dishes and find out how these recipes changed when new ingredients became available.
Some classic Mexican ingredients, like corn and beans, are still as popular in Mexican cooking today as they were in pre-Hispanic times, and it is just as nice to see some traditions continuing in this way as it is to enjoy some of the newer recipes.
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