Mexican Food Ingredients

It seems difficult to imagine an Italian pizza without tomato, a Thanks Giving dinner without a turkey, a Spanish afternoon-snack without chocolate or an Asian platter without chili. It would be just as surprising as picturing a Mexican landscape wit

Before 1492, recipes throughout the world were circumscribed to make the most out of local, perhaps regional, ingredients, with only few contributions or influences for centuries.

No one could have imagined that the European arrival to the American Continent would mean a revolution in many aspects, so wide that it made it all the way to everyone’s palate. Some before, some after, tables all around underwent a transformation in taste, smell and color once and forever. Talking about which, the territory where now Mexico stands played an important role for its richness in flora and fauna.

If the Spaniards never got used to eat dogs (xoloscuintle), they happily adopted dishes where the main ingredient was huaxolotl (turkey), and maybe olotl (maize) never substituted wheat in the European tables, but it became fairly popular little by little. On the other hand the tomatl (tomato) is the king of Mexican exports, so much so that the French called it “love apple” and the Italians called it “gold apple”, becoming a basic ingredient in both kitchens.

Newcomers also felt great curiosity for an energetic drink thoroughly used in Montezuma’s court, called xocoatl (chocolate) made out of water, hot spices, honey and cacahuatl (cacao) seeds reduced to powder. There were no cows in America, not to mention milk; there was no sugar nor an equivalent, sugar cane came from Asia; modern chocolate is a later European creation.

Zucchini, avocados, strawberries and vanilla also became an essential part of dishes and deserts in Europe, Asia and modern America. What would the French ratatouille be without tomato? …and the tahini yoghurt salad without avocado in Israel? Could we imagine the 1950’s without strawberries and cream? …or a day by Ocean Drive, L.A. without vanilla ice cream? Even more, we have to ponder the popularity chili gained in Asian kitchens since it arrived in the 15th century. Thai food wouldn’t be the same without it.

Without a doubt, chances are that there is at least one Mexican ingredient in any platter you choose, wherever you are. Ay, ay, ay!