The Mexican Cuisine goes beyond being a cuisine to an Art! The prehispanic people that inhabited in Mexico did not concern only about creating a nutritious and tasty meal. They went beyond those boarders to create a food that would also delight the view.
The Ancient Mexican Civilizations were the first culture in the world to give a touch of art to their food. They knew that the appetite for food is not only generated by the smell or by taste but also by the view. For this reason they became food artists.
In order to incorporate art in their food the indigenous people filled the food with colors, thus becoming food painters. The colors that were used ranged from the reds to greens, combined with black, yellow, white, orange and even blue.
– Now let’s see where this color palette was obtained from.
The annatto is an oval-shaped fruit that contains many seeds. When these seeds dried they were triturated with the molcajete from where a reddish tint was obtained. This tint was used for the food and painting.
The chile, that makes that makes the Mexican food so famous for it spiciness and flavor. It was incorporated into the Mexican cuisine for its varied shapes, colors and because it whets the appetite. The chile adds a special seasoning that generates a cry of euphoria by stimulating the palate and the sight.
The mamey is a big oval fruit from which very intense orange colors were obtained. It was also used to prepare “zapote" a black color dessert. Within the mamey properties, its bone was used to make shampoo.
For the green colors the nopal is considered one of the basic ingredients of the Mexican cuisine. It comes from a cactus with thick and fleshy leaves that are put on the fire to burn its thorns; then they are peeled and used for a wide variety of dishes.
These were only some of the foods (pigments) that were used to decorate and paint the dishes... although many more foods were used you will get to know them as you prepare various Mexican dishes. Use all your art and creativity to make your dishes look beautiful!