5 Things You Didn’t Know about Mexican Food
Mexican food is very popular in the United States. And even though it’s not the same type of food that people eat in every home in Mexico, we don’t hear any complaints about the taste of it. If you’re still waiting on your significant other to get ready to come over to Agave Mexican restaurant tonight, you might as well take another minute to read about five things you probably didn’t know about Mexican food. Your knowledge might even impress your partner later.
1. Mexican Food Is Ancient
Real Mexican food has been around for a long time. In fact, we’re still preparing traditional recipes today that come straight from the Aztecs and Mayans. Of course, Mexican food was influenced by other cultures as well. In fact, Spaniards had a lot to do with it. When they colonized Mexico, they brought many of their cooking skills and ingredients with them.
Of course, you can still eat like the Mayans did, too. The foods that were part of the ancient Mexican diet include a lot of ingredients we still use today, such as tomatoes, chilies, beans, dried seeds, and mushrooms. Their ancient recipes can be found in stews, soups, tamales, casseroles, and salsas.
The food that is commonly found in the United States today is usually called “Tex Mex”. That’s because typical Mexican food found in the U.S. is a blend of Texan, Mexican, and American cuisine. The most popular Tex Mex foods are fajitas, burritos, and quesadillas.
2. Traditional Mexican Food Uses Unusual Proteins
When you order Mexican food at a restaurant, you can expect to be served chicken, beef, or beans for the protein portion of your meal. However, Mexican natives ate more than 200 different types of insects. These included crickets, cicadas, moths, and butterflies. You can still find chapulines as a traditional snack food everywhere in Mexico. Chapulines are crispy, dried grasshoppers that are dipped in chili powder and lime juice. In Central Mexico, a type of ant larvae is served inside of tacos with guacamole.
Even when native Mexicans started eating cow meat, they didn’t let any part of the animal go to waste. Like other traditional cultures, Mexican food would include the stomach, tongue, udder, and even the reproductive organs of the animal. But that isn’t even the weirdest type of protein you can expect to find in a Mexican dish. Some recipes call for ingredients like iguana and rattlesnake.
3. Everybody Loves Tortillas
Mexicans eat tortillas as much as other cultures consume bread. Tortillas can be made with corn or flour, but preferences change within the regions. Tortillas can be soft or crunchy, and they find their way into almost every Mexican dish. It is said that an average family in Mexico consumes about two pounds of tortillas every day. From the 1940s to the early 1980s, you could even buy tortillas in a can. Of course, tortillas taste much better when they’re made fresh from scratch.
Quesadillas are one of the most popular food Mexican street vendors have to offer. Quesadillas are usually made with corn tortillas, pork or beef, cheese, lettuce, and hot sauce. The recipe for quesadillas is a mix of Native American, Spanish, and indigenous origin. Regardless of who’s getting the credit for quesadillas, they’re simply delicious.
4. Tequila Is the Most Popular Drink
While we love our margaritas, we don’t blame anyone for preferring a stiff tequila instead. Tequila is Mexico’s most famous drink. It’s made from a plant and produced in the city of Tequila. If you want to be very generous, you could claim that it’s the healthiest part of dinner for you. After all, it comes from a plant, and that means it’s basically just a salad. Don’t worry, we’ll play along.
5. Traditional Mexican Food Goes Easy on Dairy
We love cheese and sour cream in our Mexican dishes. However, traditional Mexican recipes used dairy products in small amounts, if at all. The only notable exception is El Norte. In that area of the country, there are a lot of ranches with cattle and goat herds. In fact, that’s where you can find a diverse range of cheese-making traditions. To make up for the fact that you won’t get a lot of dairy in many other parts of the country, you can find fresh farmer’s cheese, creamy and semi-soft cheese from Chihuahua (not your dog), and the original Monterey Jack in El Norte.