Mexican Food

The Finest Mexican Food


A lot of Americans think they know Mexican Food. An occasional trip down to Taco Bell, Chipotle or Baja Fresh is the limit of most people's education. Why go any further? What is there to know beyond nachos drizzled with cheese and jalapenos, tacos soaked full of beef and sour cream and burritos, approaching the size of infant children, stuffed full of pork and cooked in a deep fryer? Sadly, calling this Mexican Food is a bit more than just a stretch. It's pretty much an embellishment from top to bottom. Do you honestly think most Mexicans eat this type of cuisine that Americans flock towards?

Authentic Mexican Cuisine shares similar roots to much of the Mexican-American and Tex-Mex foods that appeals to residents of the United States. Nevertheless, there are plenty of differences between what's authentic and what's familiar. Here is a brief rundown of some of the history behind Mexico's worldwide renowned cuisine.

Many of the dishes that comprise Mexican cuisine were originated by the Aztecs or similar Mesoamerican cultures. The staple of this culinary culture was the corn tortilla, the tomato and the bean. All three of these products, black beans, tomatoes and corn, are indigenous to the new world and are authentically Mexican. Typical Mexican Culinary fare before the arrival of the Europeans consisted of dishes heavy on these ingredients cooked in the open air markets of the Aztecs over an open fire. Tomatillos were also important ingredients that, along with the tomatoes, initially repelled many Europeans because of their resemblance and lineage to a common poison plant called Nightshade.

Nevertheless, once the Europeans began to arrive in force, many of the local customs and eats of the native Mexican peoples began to become incorporated in the Spanish and European cuisine imported from the Old World. Spaniards brought with them cows and pork, in addition to cheese. Thus begins the start of Mexican cuisine that most Americans can recognize.

The livestock imported by the Spanish was thoroughly integrated into Mexican Cuisine. Indeed, one can view the history of Mexican Cuisine as a history ripe with adaptations and evolutions. Mexican cooks have been able to adapt their cooking styles to suit new inputs. Having a sudden excess of meat led to the development of meals such as the taco, quesadilla and fajita, dishes that are often loaded with meat and cheese.

While most authentic Mexican Cuisine is far more reserved in its serving size and ingredient list than Mexican-American Food, the roots of Mexican cuisine centers around adapting to new tastes in new places. Take, for instance, Tex-Mex cuisine. A relatively new invention, this type of cooking is a fusion brought about by the influx of American and British settlers in Texas, a region dominated by Mexican people and food. Even the ever present Mexican-American cuisine that is served at corner diners, fast food franchises and fine dining establishments is an adaptation of Mexican Cuisine taking traditional elements and incorporating new sources of flavor in faraway lands.