Mexico is a country with abundant forests, jungles, oceans, lakes, rivers, etc. It is a very rich land in flora and it also is in fauna (wild animals) – which were hunted, cooked and eaten by the ancient indigenous and that’s how they formed part of the Mexican cuisine.
The most hunted animals that were used to prepare delicious dishes were the following: squirrel, quail, from, armadillos, goose, lobster, rabbit, coyote, crocodile, chicken, wild boar, wolf, dove, duck, fox, jaguar, bear, deer, fox, tortoise, snakes, red snapper, etc.
These animals were eaten in different ways, either raw, cooked, roasted or fried.
For duck hunting the indigenous people used to cut a pumpkin, remove the padding and drill holes to see through them, subsequently these pumpkins were thrown into a lake where the ducks were swimming. Then the ducks felt comfortable about swimming among harmless pumpkins. Until unexpectedly from a pumpkin a person would come out and hunt a duck.
Just like nowadays the barbecue was enjoyed a lot. A Mayan dish that was prepared with hare meat, armadillo or turkey. To this dish chiles, onion, spices, tomatoes and avocados were added. Curiously, the word barbecue was adopted by all the languages without major change in its writing, just like the word chocolate.
Mexico was the first country in the world where steamed cooking was performed with the tamale pot. In this way the meat was cooked without loosing its juices, taste, consistency and nutrients.
The fishes were also important in the diet of the indigenous people, mainly for the Mexicas that were surrounded by a large lake.
The Mexicas ate frog legs fried with chili and spices. The snails were cooked in hot water until they would come out from the carapace; then parsley, onion and juices were added. The Spaniards after seeing this dish they named it “Ceviche".
The famous turkey or guajolote as it was known in ancient times has become a Christmas and Thanksgiving icon. It is a type of large hen with white meat of very good flavor. This animal was first seen by Hernan Cortes in the huge gardens of Moctezuma’s Palace where turkeys were tamed and bred.
The turkeys were fed with grains, seeds and fruits before their sacrifice to obtain a juicier taste. Once cooked salsas were added to accompany its flavor.
Curiously this animal was named “Turkey", because the British considered it a very rare and exotic bird. In those days all the weird and exotic things were associated with Turkey, that’s how it obtained its name.