Being more than an experience, authentic Mexican food has a rich culinary history that makes any meal more than just something you eat. A traditional dish originating from Puebla offers a real taste of its cuisine if you are visiting Mexico. Being long and diverse is the history of Mexican food. Spain invaded Mexico in 1521 after the Aztec empire took over from the Mayans it is believed to derive from. This resulted in a Spanish influence on Mexican food. Corn, sweet potato, beans, pepper, squash, tomatoes, and herbs are the primary foods consisting of Mexican cuisine. Today, we Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant would like to share the best Mexican foods and the vibrant, rich heritage that ties to the heart of Mexican culture and values. Additionally, we will connect to the Aztec empire’s pre-Hispanic world and how it has influenced contemporary Mexican cuisines.
Mexican Food History
Native Mexican people ate a vegetarian diet and hunted for a living before the Europeans’ arrival. Deer, wild turkey, rabbit, and quail made part of their daily protein intake prior to introducing livestock.
Mayans Influenced Mexican Food
The agricultural community in Mexico was made up of the Mayans, who were hunters and gatherers. Becoming a staple, they grew corn they ate with a bean paste. For the domestication of maize in the region, the wide range of natural environment and annual rainfall exceeds 200 inches in the tropical zones of the coastal areas which created favorable weather.
European Influences on Mexican Food
Animals such as sheep, goats, chicken, and cattle were domesticated when Europeans conquered the Mayans in the 16th century. Evolving into part of their diet are also rice and dairy products like milk and cheese.
How Did the Aztecs Influence Mexican Cuisine?
Though you can still find it in today’s Mexican meals, the Aztec empire also played a considerable role by introducing pepper, honey, chili, salt and chocolate. From the Aztec people and considered a delicacy in modern Mexican cuisines, is edible flowers and insects like grasshoppers and maguey worms.
What Other Countries Influenced Mexican Food?
During African slavery in New Spain and the surrounding areas, Asian and African influences fused into the indigenous cuisine. Fruits like mangoes, guava, banana, prickly pear, cherimoya, sapote, and pineapples, many tropical fruits are native to Mexico. From the Caribbean, Portuguese, and South America, traditional Mexican dishes also saw the assimilation of other cuisines.
How Did Mexican Food Come to America?
Also leaving a mark on the people, the culture, and the cuisine is the proximity of the US-Mexican border. From one region to another, today’s Mexican food is diverse and varied. Corn remains the main ingredient in many local recipes such as corn tortillas, Menudo, atole, tamale, and pozole, despite introducing various ingredients from different parts of the continent. When fresh or dried, nixtamalized, and ground into a dough, corn is eaten. Common in most meals, in Mexico, corn makes tortilla, an ingredient. Various other dishes and drinks such as tamale, atole, and pozole is made from nixtamalized ground dough. Making an excellent side dish to an assortment of meals, next to corn, rice is the next popular grain in Mexico.