Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Summer Series 1 - Week 3
i Hola y Buenos Días ! Or hello and good morning in Spanish.
Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in Mexico, spoken by roughly 90% of the population. The remainder of the population speak a variety of different languages such as Native and Indigenous languages to which there are estimated to be over 150 different kinds such as Nahautl and Mayan.
Mexico is a melting pot of culture and is the heart of multicultural, diverse cuisines. This is largely in part due to the immersion of different Spanish, Western, and European cultures when they were invaded by other countries, and began trading goods as well. Because of this, the influences and cuisines are very specific and individual to each particular region of Mexico.
Some of the earliest Mexican food staples that date back to the Aztec empire were chili peppers, honey, salt, and chocolate. In fact, history indicates that it is because of the Mexicans that chocolate was discovered and cultivated. So next time that you find yourself eating some chocolate, you can thank Mexico and the indigenous people for that. Below is a short video on the history of chocolate in “Mesoamerica” within the Mexican culture.
Some of the cooking methods that were utilized to cook food in authentic Mexican cuisine include heating food over an open fire, steaming food in banana leaves, cactus, and dried corn husks, and grinding and smashing ingredients in a bowl, much like a modern day mortar and pestle. Some of the popular foods even still today are: salsa, enchiladas, tomatillos, tamales, guacamole, black beans, fruit salad, a variety of rice, followed by corn tortillas. One of the most popular ingredients besides peppers and tomatoes to add to these dishes is cheese, such as Oaxaca, Cotija, Chihuahua, and queso fresco, all of which originate in Mexico.
Tortillas are an important staple in the Mexican food culture as well. They are eaten with every meal, including breakfast! Think of it like how Americans sometimes enjoy toast or a toasted bagel in the morning, but in Mexico they keep it a bit lighter in carbohydrates with tortillas, which are nice and thin. Breakfast for students is typically eaten around 7am, but the overall “breakfast” hours in Mexico can extend anywhere between 7:00am-10:00am. In addition to tortillas, other foods that are eaten during this meal include sweet breads called “conchas” in spanish, fruits, egg dishes like huevos rancheros, and more. It depends on the region that you live in and the local foods that are native to the area, but these are some of the main foods that you will see on the table in most Mexican homes for breakfast.
Breakfast, despite being an important meal, isn't actually the main meal of the day in Mexico. The main meal, which is the biggest out of the three, is lunch, which usually has two courses to it. Kids generally get out of school around 1:00pm, but lunch time is known to fall between 4:00-6:00 pm, but snacks are eaten throughout the day, just like in most other places. The first course of lunch is usually a soup or a salad as a starter, which is followed by the main entree which usually is a hot meal consisting of protein, beans, rice, and tortillas. This meal is similar in portion size to an American dinner at a restaurant, but it is also a great way to have long lasting energy, and a better way to avoid eating your biggest meal right before bed.
Their dinners are lighter in quantity and comparable to a late night snack for most! This meal is typically eaten anywhere between 7:00-9:00pm, and includes a bunch of different common options like quesadillas, tacos, tamales, sweet bread, and more. We weren’t kidding when we said that tortillas are eaten with every meal! Want to learn more about how tortillas are made, or how to make your own at home? Follow along with the video and recipe below, it only takes 5 ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, oil, and warm water!