Love Mexican food? Well, who doesn’t? But are you aware of that the hot plate of your favorite Taco or Enchilada is actually a recipe handed down from generations of people, even before Christ was born? That’s true.
The Mexican cuisine began some 9000 years ago, which places it about 7000BCE, when the Mesoamerican communities started settling and practicing agriculture. They domesticated the maize (corn), creating the standard process of corn nixtamalization (the process of washing grain in an alkaline solution to remove toxins). This was started by the Mayas and then other communities like the Aztecs, Toltecs, Olmecs and many more brought their recipes and developed cooking styles.
Other staple and native food items were also brought and added, including chia, avocados, tomatoes, cactus, chilli peppers, agave, sweet potatoes among various others. The Turkey meat was also a favorite among these tribes. And chocolate too was present in the Mexican cuisine during the Pre-Historic ages. Murals and wall paintings show the evidences.
“Over the centuries, this resulted in regional cuisines based on local conditions, such as those in Oaxaca, Veracruz and the Yucatán Peninsula. Mexican cuisine is an important aspect of the culture, social structure and popular traditions of Mexico. The most important example of this connection is the use of mole for special occasions and holidays, particularly in the South and Center regions of the country” – reports Wikipedia.
Food and festivals were inseparable for the Mexicans and still are an intimate part of the Mexican delight. For this reason and others, traditional Mexican cuisine was inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Sounds grand, doesn’t it? Well, why not, considering the dishes that are so tasty!
So, the next time you sit before your favourite Mexican dish, just don’t forget to remember its rich and delicious past.
By – Abhipsa Mohanty