Food

Mexico is a perfect country for the “foody” people. The variety of dishes is enormous and will satisfy the most spohisticated taste buds.

The history of Mexican food is quite long. It has been believed that the authentic Mexican food comes from Mayan Indians, who were nomads and gatherers. Their most common food item were corn tortillas with bean spread, but they introduced to their menu wild meat, fruits and fish.

In the mid XIV century the Aztec empire was on its top and added to the traditional kitchen such flag ingredients as chili peppers, chocolate, salt and honey. Some of previously wild birds, like duck and turkey have been domesticated and commonly available.

In 1521 Spaniards invaded Mexico and brought their own culinary traditons; introducing to the menu the meat of sheep, pig d cow, enriching the kitchen with dairy products, garlic and a variety of new herbs. Wheat and previously unknows spicies made the way to Mexican kitchen as well.

At that time the Mexican kitchen started to assimilate dishes from other world regions including Carribean, French, South American, West African and Portuguese.

 

Ancient cooking methods

The early natives of Mexico didn’t use ovens, but instead they were cooking meal on open fire using metal and ceramic cook ware.

Another method was steaming the food by suspending it wrapped in cactus or banana leaves over a boiling water.

Frying the meal was also a common method.

 

History of main foor ingredients

 

Salsa

Salsa was a common good sold on Aztec markets. Salsas are usually raw (uncooked) and its ingredients are pureed or choppped. The same ingredients are used for centuries: tomatoes, tomatillos, chipotle and avocado.

The very famous mole sauce, contains chocolate with this ingredient Spaniards fell in love, bringing it to europe in 1657.

 

Enchillada

The meaning of the word is simply “in chile”. The term was used for the first time in 1885. The concept of wrapping the food in tortillas comes from Aztecs’ tradition.

 

Tomatillo

The origin of the fruit can be traced to 800 BC; and the word means “round and plump”. Tomatillos has been domesticated by Aztecs. It is not popular in Europe, except Italy. Tomatillo is a base for many Mexican green sauces.

 

Chili peppers

Propagation of chili peppers has been done thanks to the Portuguese. The earliest mention of chili peppers in the literature comes from 1542; although there are some mentions of peppers brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus in XV century. The archeological evidence demonstrates that chili pappers were used since 5000 BC.

 

Tamales

Tamalaes can be traced to the pre-columbian era. Literature mentions that tamales have been served to Spaniards by the Aztecs in the 1550’s.

 

Ceviche

Surprise! It is not Mexican. Comes from the Inca culture; eating their daily catch raw, only with some seasoning. Lemon was added to this dish only in the late XVI century!