If you want a bit of heritage food then look no further than the country of Mexico. Considering that Mexican food and cuisine has been around of some nine thousand years you are really getting a taste of Mesoamerican history. It’s a combination of a variety of tribal favourites all combined together to get to the menu we see today. When you’re in the local restaurant watching the chefs working away over a Commercial Combi Oven like the ones you find at https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/catering-appliances/commercial-ovens-and-ranges/combination-ovens it should reassure you that they are making food honed in the Aztec Empire and brought back to Europe by the Conquistadors. What was on the menu back then and how has the cuisine of this fascinating country been influenced.
Prior to the Conquistadors coming, the Food of the Aztecs was the standard staples of Corn, squashes and beans. The climate was also perfect for the growth of tomatoes and the avocado (which takes its name from the Aztec word for testicle would you believe). Certain cactus was edible but one of the most used was the tuber of the sweet potatoes due to its incredible versatility. There was also of course Chilli’s. For meat there was Turkey a very healthy poultry. The Spanish brought Beef and Lamb plus dairy products. These were not readily introduced and even after their enslavement the Aztecs were not keen to add any new food stuffs to their diet. In the 18th century the coming of slaves from Africa and an influx of Asian workers brought in even more options.
For dessert the Mexican cuisine is based heavily on Fruit. Again, the climate favours the tropical and sub-tropical with Bananas and Pineapple being the most recognisable with Mangoes and the Cherimoya or Custard Apple bringing the more exotic and acquired of tastes.
Corn is still the standard staple even with the introduction of wheat and rice. It’s enjoyed fresh and dried with the most common use after this drying to create a corn dough called masa. We’d probably identify with the Tortilla in both chips and curved form like nachos or in the larger taco. Originally you’d have had slices or minced Turkey but this is now replaced generally with Ground beef. You’re technically eating a eurofied version but if it tastes good then it’s nothing to be hung up about.
If you mention Mexican food then you are certainly going to think of Chillis. They are native to Mexico and have been used for a variety of things not just cooking. Many Mexicans state that without the Chilli there would be no Mexico the two are inseparably linked. The flavour of the chilli is sort after not just its heat.
One thing that you won’t see on the menu at your local Mexican restaurant, unless they are extremely authentic and it’s a public holiday, is mole. Don’t panic it’s not an underground mole, mole means mixed, but a rich sauce made from a variety of ingredients (including dark chocolate) made by some poor Nuns to impress an Archbishop.