The popularity of Mexican Cuisine around the world attests to the tremendous variety of dishes that comes from
far and wide across the Mexican Country. Love of Mexican food shows an
appreciation not only for the constant process of search and discovery
of the right combination of ingredients, but also for great Mexican imagination.
The richness of cuisine flows from concern for the sensory experience of eating, the taste, smell, and look of food whicn
can enrich an inspire the spirit.
It is often said that "cuisine is culture", and to
understand the development of Mexican Cuisine it is important
to know something of the history of Mexico.
In the pre-Colombian
period, the diet of Mexican ancestors was purely native, with
nutrition based on the great product of Mexican Agriculture, corn.
When thrashed and boiled into a "pozole", the corn
could be made into flavorful tortillas and tamales, or rendered
into flour for other variations.
The diet of corn was supplemented with vegetables
and meat. A great variety of spices, known as "chile,"
could be combined with sweet potato, beans, squash, "chayote",
and "jicama". Early mexicans also relied on herbs such
as "los quelites", "quintoniles", "huazontles",
and a wide range of mushrooms. Indigenous wildlife such as deer,
rabbits, armadillos, raccoons, "tepezcuintles", and
birds such as turkeys, pigeons, and quails could also be served.
Even turtles, snakes, and frogs could be made to complement the
native American plate.
After the Conquest and during the Colonial
period, the country's cuisine changed dramatically with the culinary
influences brought along by the Spanish. With the conquistadores
and their descendents came a taste for "cebada" , for
rice, olives, wines, spices from India, beef, and different kinds
Today's Mexican Cuisine is a perfect combination and blend of the original Indian
and Spanish people.
Some of the greatest innovations in Mexican
Cuisine came from the inspiration of Nuns, among whose activities
were to cook for the Monks and Priests. In great feasts held in
the honor of the Viceroy, the Nuns of the famous convents in Puebla,
Michoacan and Oaxaca attained brilliance in traditional bakery.
The Nuns developed many new pastries and covered sweets, including
"natillas", "jamoncillos", "cajetas",
and "buuelos". The most famous of the Nuns
creations is the spicy "mole poblano" sauce born from
the "mulli" a typical sauce of the "nahuas"
which combines a variety of "chiles". For a dinner
to receive a new Archbishop, one of the Nuns of the Convento de
Santa Rosa de Puebla decided to alter the "mulli" by
adding other seasonings such as chocolate, peanuts, sesame and
cinnamon just to reduce its overwhelming spicyness.
During the 19th Century, Mexican woman played
a profound role in domestic life. To be a good women in Mexico
means to have a profound knowledge and great skill in preparing
the cuisine. The imagination, talent and gift for improvisation
of the women of that period contributed much to the recipes which
have been handed down from generation to generation. The demand for their delicious dishes
around the world is a testament to them.
Mexicans are very proud of their cuisine; to them,
it gives a great sense of unity and identity.