Mexican dishes use such a wide of variety of meats, spices, grains and peppers in their cuisine. Much of the traditional Mexican food has been around for thousands of years with little alteration, while some traditional Mexican food was influenced by other visiting cultures. The French played a role in the influence of Mexican sweet breads and bolillo. Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant would like to share why traditional Mexican food uses such a variety of ingredients as well as varying levels of spicy heat.
Why the Variety of Meats in Mexican Cuisine?
When you look at Mexican food you will find beef, pork, chicken, goat and fish. Many people sometimes think the variety of meats are modern adaptations. However, it is not so. The meat in Mexican food can be broken up by regions through the use of meat that was available. Northern Mexico had more space and land for livestock, which means Northern Mexico used a lot of beef, pork and goat meat in their food. If you look South, Southern Mexico has had a lot more chicken and pork based foods where livestock was far more limited. As you follow the coastal regions, you’ll find most of their food was fish based. It is a common belief that fish isn’t a primary meat and that fish tacos are a modern adaptation, which isn’t the case. Fish is a traditional meat used greatly along the coastal regions of Mexico.
Mexican Herbs, Spices, Fruits & Vegetables
When we think of Mexican food often we think of a side of beans, rice, brightly colored peppers and strong spices. Again, as we break up the regions, much of Mexico grew a number of spices, fruits and vegetables. For example, guacamole is considered a traditional Mexican dip. However, avocados didn’t grow all over Mexico. In fact, avocados only grew in a small area in southern Mexico. Through trade, avocados did hold up well for longer periods of time which helped them spread further into Mexico. Nonetheless, it wasn’t found all over Mexico. Mexico’s climate did allow peppers, chili, corn, rice and beans to thrive. Corn, rice and beans can hold up for long periods of time and was easily stored. This is why rice, beans, and corn are primary food groups throughout all of Mexico.
Mexican Chili Peppers
Chilies are also an iconic food group in Mexican dishes because it too thrived in many different regions of Mexico. Chilies and other peppers is what often gives Mexican food its spicy taste. However, most of the spiciness is in the seeds. Some people love the taste as well as the slight kick chilies and peppers bring to a dish. However, to avoid the intense heat they simply need to remove the seeds. The spice lovers will keep the seeds which changes the level of spice in the dish. Of course different chilies and peppers vary on their taste and spiciness as well.
Opuntia Prickly Pear Cactus Plant
Mexico is also known for growing fruit especially along the tropics. However, there was one fruit that was highly prized among the people. The Opuntia, or more commonly known as the prickly pear cactus fruit, was considered to be sacred during pre-Columbian times. Prickly pears were used for medicine, dyes, and frequently ingested as a beverage. People of ancient Mexico considered the prickly pear to be their tree of life and was an object of magical religious practices.
Traditional Mexican Cuisine in Las Vegas, Nevada (Just Minutes from Summerlin, North LV & Henderson, NV)
Traditional Mexican restaurants will serve a wide variety of meats, spices and vegetation in their dishes as Mexican food is very diverse throughout the country. When you want to try a variety of traditional Mexican cuisine, come to Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant!