Any person that wishes to venture into the history of Mexican food will get a big surprise. This is because most of the Mexican cuisine like its dishes, preparation method, food, drinks, recipes and even its cookware come from the ancient civilizations that inhabited Mexico thousands of years ago. Therefore...
The Mexican food is a great legacy that has been preserved to our days.
Now you may ask, how is it possible that this millenary legacy remains in force to our days.
The answer is simple, the Spaniards conquered Mexico and enslaved the Indians; who were treated worse than animals. In such tyranny, there was a factor that the Spaniards did NOT care about that was – feeding the Indians.
For this reason the Indians did not have any other choice but to feed themselves to survive... and how did they do it... by cooking and preparing what they knew, the Mexican food.
Thanks to these facts the Mexican food managed to survive and endure overtime becoming a world heritage.
Merging the Foods
When the Spaniards arrived in the New World they had no idea of the advanced Civilizations that they were about to find nor the amount of plants, animals and new foods that they were about to discover.
Well, it is important to mention that the Mexican food indeed has suffered changes and alterations over time. This is due to the technology and the arrival of the Spaniards and the new foods that they brought with them.
The Indigenous were highly observers, open and wise. When they became aware of the existence of a new range of foods they did not hesitate in adapting and incorporating them in their kitchen, such is the case of the pastas; but the had the creativity of adding to these new dishes the flavor and the typical Mexican touch.
– Once this merging occurred between the Mexican food and the European it was obtained as a result the typical Mexican Food.
The most important foods that the Spaniards brought, and that did not exist in Mexico, were: carrot, radish, duck, millet, lentils, clove, spinach, beans, peas, rice, celery, cinnamon, asparagus, pepper, wheat, oats, chard, garlic, goats, ginger, pigs, purslane, etc.
The ancient Mexican civilizations also did a big contribution, not only to the Spaniards but to the whole world; when they showed all the foods that were only known in the Anahuac (America). Among these the ones that stand out are: chocolate, maize, papaya, vanilla, squash blossoms, epazote, capulines, green peppers, wild onions, Mexican pepperleaf, achiote, amaranth, chia, quelite, pineapple, prickly pear, prickly pear, agave, sapodilla, pulque, mescal, chewing gum, tomato, turkey, peanuts, armadillo, iguana, bolivian coriander, snakes, insects and many more...
This was a great legacy that shocked the world, just imagine:
- What would the Italian food be without the tomato?
- How would an ice-cream shop would be without vanilla ice-cream?
- Being unable to buy Swiss chocolates as a gift.
- At the end of a meal not having a gum to chew.
For this and more reasons it is appreciated and thanked a lot such a wonderful art and legacy.
The History of Mexican food tells that close to 300 daily meals were prepared to the Tlatoani Moctezuma.
But how did they gain access to so many and so varied foods, to make such original delicacies?
– From the markets from there they obtained all what they needed.
When Cortes was approaching for his first time to the great Tenochtitlan, he heard a loud buzzing, as if he was immersed in a large bees swarm and he asked:
What is that buzzing?
– The market of Mexico Tenochtitlan.
The market of Tenochtitlan was the most important of the Anahuac (America). Cortes tells the king in the “Cartas de Relacion" that he sent that the market of Tenochtitlan is the most crowded place in the world (it could fit up to 60 thousand people), more than the markets in the far East, more than the markets of Constantinople.
It is a place where you can get it all. All types of birds, dogs, pots, jars, honey, meat, eggs, peanuts, wood, seeds, fish, vegetables, fruits, wax, corn, bread, sugar, salt, tortillas, chile... etc... etc... etc.
All this buying and selling of products was conducted without money. The economic system used was the “barter" (exchange).
Now you may say so backward they did not know money. No, on the contrary how wise they established a perfect economic system without the usage of money. With this system there are no banks, there are no rich nor poor just the people that work and the lazy people existed.
The commercial network routes were amazing. They established business with cultures established as far as what now is New Orleans. In Vercaruz fishing was done at dawn so in the morning the Tlatoani, in Mexico, could enjoy a delicious and fresh fish.