Agriculture,  Ancient Foods,  Culinary History,  Food History,  History,  Tourism,  Travel

Mexico: More Than Tacos

The next country up this year on the list is that south of the border country – Mexico! If you think of Mexico as a land of color and spice, you would be right! Mexican food has taken off around the world. Everyone seems to know what a taco is! But Mexico is more than just a place where tacos originated. It’s a land with a deep, deep culinary history.

The best way to think of authentic Mexican food is to remember how far back the culinary traditions of this land reach. Before the Columbian exchange, the distinctive ancient cultures of the Aztecs, Mayas and other smaller tribes had culinary practices that used the foods available to them. And there was so much available! The food of the Americas has reached around the world and influenced almost every culture today.

Foods found in Mexico and South America that are native include chocolate, corn, vanilla, amaranth, chia, avocado, sweet potato, chili pepper, cactus, tomatoes, turkey and beans. Some examples of the foods that are enjoyed from these ingredients are elotes, tortillas, tacos, churros, mezcal and tamales.

The history of Mexican food is heavily influenced by the Spanish. Starting out with the unique culinary traditions of the native people, the Spanish and Portuguese and their influence soon found their way to their shores. They brought rice, cheese and sugar cane to Mexico as well as new culinary traditions like frying. Mexico has also been heavily influenced by the United States and its changing and growing culinary traditions through the years.

The one thing to remember about Mexican food is that like the United States, the country of Mexico is divided up into states or distinctive areas. Each of these areas has its own culinary practices and unique spins on the famous foods of Mexico. Some of these areas include Yucatan, Oaxaca and Puebla. Cooking traditions are very strong in each of these regions.

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