Mexican food today is a fusion of tradition and migration. Dating back to the time of the Mayans and Aztecs we know that corn, peppers and beans were the early staples of the diet, but Spanish conquistadors introduced many of the spices and herbs that we associate with Mexican recipes so readily today. It’s not surprising that the typical dietary regime in Mexico is so varied and delightfully colorful and tasty. It truly is emblematic of the best of many, combined worlds.
Today, a large number of these tasty dishes are based on the basic ingredients of beans, rice and corn. The cornerstone is corn which appears in virtually everything from enchiladas and tacos, to soups and even desserts. Dried beans are also widely available and another staple on the dinner plate. They can be boiled or fried.
When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century rice became another wholesome ingredient. There are a variety of different ways to prepare this; for example you can prepare with hot oils, or incorporate herbs and even mix with sugar to make a popular, local drink.
Did you know that there are more than 60 different varieties of chili peppers and each one of them can be found somewhere in the Mexican recipe book? Jalapenos may not be for the faint hearted but they are the most recognizable, hot and spicy varieties. These peppers can be used in an amazingly diverse number of ways.
One of the most famous elements to emerge from the Mexican food pantry and well known in American society in general is salsa. Some people refer to this as the Mexican version of tomato ketchup and can be made from raw ingredients, or cooked in different ways. For example you can have roasted tomato, fresca or ranchero style.
When the Spanish arrived they brought a variety of citrus fruits to really add color and taste to Mexican dishes. Oranges, lime and grapefruit can create some unique and mouthwatering taste combinations when infused with a variety of other concoctions. As the Spaniards also introduced dairy food to the Mexican diet, we can now get ready to enjoy a number of dairy products such as Cojito cheese, often used to garnish the finished product.
When you add a very wide variety of herbs and spices to these already colorful main ingredients and supplements and prepare the food as freshly as possible you can imagine why the Mexicans tend to look forward to their evening meal so much. It’s now not difficult to understand why the natives make such an occasion out of eating and how it helps to cement their very culture.
Life south of the border is nothing if not adventurous and they are never spoiled for choice when it comes to dinner ideas. Maybe we should take a leaf out of their book. Instead of reaching for something frozen at the end of a long hard day, prepare a little bit in advance and you can have one of these tasty Mexican concoctions to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
Related American Food Articles