Understanding Mexican Cuisine

Discussion in 'Food & Travel' started by jmarquez1976, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Alright...after the Beef Taco poll, it became very clear to me that....that most people aren't familiar with Mexican cuisine very much...so this thread is dedicated to the discovery & understanding of Mexican cuisine.


    Authentic vs Faux Mexican

    Mexican cuisine became popular in the United States during the Great Depression. As a response to the dreariness of the times, Americans demanded exotic (but not too exotic) flavors, colorful presentations, and hearty ingredients served in generous proportions at a value price.


    Mexican restuaranteurs tweaked their offering to fit the market place. Changes included:

    > Serving Rice & Beans as accompaniments with every dish (its easy to make big pots of each...and they are very inexpensive ingredients)

    > Offering Mexican Street Food & Appetizers (Tostadas, Enchiladas, Taquitos) on a dish with Rice & Beans....as extremely value oriented dishes.


    As the popularity of Mexican Restuarants like El Cholo Cafe, in Los Angeles, grew astronimcally others were quick to emulate the same basic idea, typically without any attention to authenticity or quality. Many of L.A's Old School "Mexican" institutions from the 30's, 40's & 50's were run by people with no previous restaurant experience in Mexico.


    The question of Authentic & Faux is not black & white. There are only a handful of truly authentic Mexican restaurants in the U.S., the rest can be plotted on a Continuum:

    > At one end of the Faux spectrum are the Taco Bell's of the world. Serving food that are terrible imitations of Mexican flavors & cooking techniques.

    > In the middle are the Acapulco & El Torito chains. They combine a few authentic touches with otherwise glorified versions of dishes from the Taco Bell type chains.

    > At the more Authentic end are family owned, independent Taqueries & restaurants who do capture Mexican flavors adequately and are mostly authentic but they don't represent the foods that people in Mexico actually eat on a regular basis. There tends to be a lot of imitation...restaurants that are afraid of breaking out of the Rice & Beans mold...restaurants that have failed to recognize that the Contemporary American Culinary movement has brought Farmer's Markets to every town & city of the U.S....and with them authentic Mexican ingredients that were not available 10 years ago.
     
  2. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Burritos & Regional Cuisines

    The Burrito

    Surrounded by controversy, as to its origins, The Burrito is one of the most popular items in Mexican Restaurants north of the border. Those who have traveled to Mexico's great urban areas, like Mexico City & Guadalajara have probably searched high & low for a Burrito....only to find that it is easier to find a good Hamburger or Hot Dog...than it is to find any Burrito. As such it is easy to dismiss the Burrito (as well as Nachos & Chalupas among other items) as not real Mexican cuisine.

    However, you CAN find Burritos in Northern Mexico particularly in the states of Chihuahua & Nuevo Leon. Not surprisingly, it is only in Northern Mexico that you also find Wheat Flour Tortillas. Those parts of the country were settle by Sephardic Jews back in the 16th Century....and over time, they have created their own versions of Mexican cuisine.

    The thing to understand here....is that there is NO Homogenous Mexican cuisine. There are generally 8 recognized culinary regions in Mexico...based on the major Geographic ecosystems. However, even with the 8 regions there can be significant differences. For example, if you consider the area bounded by a 100 mile radius from Mexico City.... you will find Temperate Highlands, Pine Forests, Tropical Forests, Deserts, and River Basins.

    Further, within Mexico there is an understanding that the most culinarily developed areas of the country include:

    > Mexico City & Mexico State
    > Puebla
    > Oaxaca
    > Veracruz (Coast & Tropical Highlands)
    > Campeche
    > Michoacan (Purepecha Highlands)
    > Chiapas
    > Guerrero (Coast & Hotlands)

    Coincidentally, these regions are almost NOT represented in the U.S. at all.
     
    Kaney repped this.
  3. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Street & Bar Foods

    The Taco


    Tacos are probably Mexico's most commonly consumed Prepared Food. They are found everywhere in Mexico, with some regional variations....and are as Mexican as anyother dish.

    What tacos are:

    > A taco is a sort of sandwich made from soft corn tortillas (in Mexico they are always soft & earthy...usually handmade from whole grain corn)

    > The taco is stuffed by grilled, seared, broiled, roasted or baked meats in a variety of cuts....or by a variety of sauteed, roasted or poached vegetables.

    > The taco is typically topped with diced raw onions, & fresh herbs (typically Cilantro) and a freshly roasted salsa made of fresh produce. Sometimes they are topped with smooth guacamole or pickled onions, cabbage or chiles.

    > Tacos are almost always purchased from mobile street vendors (that only specialize in Tacos...usually just on specific cuts of meat or types of vegetabls)...who assemble them straight from the griddle, grill, roaster etc., They are always piping hot...and need to be eaten immediately.


    What tacos are NOT:

    > Tacos are not made with soft flour tortillas or corn taco shells

    > Tacos are not stuffed with Simmered Ground Meat, Rice, or Beans (except when you make casual bean tacos at home)

    > Tacos are not topped with lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, sour cream

    > Tacos are not eaten in Restuarants...nice or humble. They are NOT served with sides of rice & beans.


    And now the wonderful Taco:

    [​IMG]


    Why be a Taco snob? Authentic tacos have an earthiness, boldness & realness that is not found in their sour cream & cheese loaded faux cousins. Further an authentic street taco is full of lean protein, whole grain corn tortillas and topped with low calorie, fat free, high vitamin condiments such as Salsa, Raw Veggies & Raw Herbs.
     
    Kaney repped this.
  4. Don Boppero 3000

    Don Boppero 3000 DNALMQNLGLLMX

    Jan 15, 2001
    Club:
    Club América
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    Re: Street & Bar Foods

    So if I sit and eat tacos, I'm wrong. :)

    The best hamburger I've had was in Yuriria GTO.
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.
  5. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Street & Bar Foods II

    In addition, there are a variety of other popular Street Foods.


    The Sandwiches


    Tortas, are typically Hot Sandwiches, made from Bolillos or Teleras (both are Mexican versions of French Rolls). The Torta is commonly purchased from Street Vendors or Torterias (the lowest end of Mexican casual restaurants). Like the Taco, Tortas are humble foods of the populace that are enjoyed by people of ALL socieeconomic statust in Mexico....and which, at their best, are worthy of all Gourmet Accolades.

    The typical torta is spread with beans, topped with the Meat or Grilled Vegetables, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Avocado, Salsa & Sour Cream.

    [​IMG]


    In the City of Puebla, they enjoy a variation of the The Torta....called a Cemita. The Cemita draws its name from the slightly sweet Sesame Seed bun that serves as its foundation (the name translates to Semitic Bread....because it was introduced by Lebanese immigrants). Specific to the Semita is the use of the stringy Poblano Cheese (very similar to Mozarrella), the Papalo herb, & Chipotles en Adobo (Smoked Jalapenos in a "Barbecue" sauce):

    [​IMG]

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/109444


    In Guadalajara, Tortas are dipped in a Cooked Salsa....to produce an unctous, delicious mess known as Tortas Ahogadas (Drowned Sandwiches)

    [​IMG]


    Also in Guadalajara, Mexican rolls are hallowed out, stuffed with Chorizo-Potato Hash, submerged in hot oil & cooked salsa & served with a bit of cooling Sour Cream and christened as the Pambazo.

    As everyday meals at home....Mexican Rolls are typically just stuffed with Beans, Pickled Jalapenos & Fresco Cheese.
     
  6. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Re: Street & Bar Foods


    The best hamburger I've had was in Naucalpan (an industrial suburb of Mexico City), and was produced by my cousins who sold them at night, out of a small Retail Outlet in the front of their home, to pay for high school textbooks, school supplies, bus fare & lunch money.
     
  7. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Street & Bar Foods III

    In addition, to Tacos & Tortas....there are a family of street foods that are made from very thick Corn "tortillas"

    The Sope is round, stiff but doughey, and has no top:

    [​IMG]


    The Huarache is shaped like a sandal, beans are hidden inside the dough and are large enough to frame a full meal with vegetables & meats:

    [​IMG]


    The Panucho, specialty of the Yucatan, adds Rice Flour to the corn dough to create a venerable soft, open faced "Sope" that folds easily making for very easy eating on the go:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Street & Bar Foods

    Mexican Bar Foods


    The tostada typically makes its appearance in Mexican bars...as vehicles for a myriad of toppings. Mexican bars, typically offer complimentary botanas (small dishes) with your drinks. The bar's cook typically whips up different batches of snacks and they get passed around the bar. Tostadas make a very convenient vehicle for a wide range of toppings, including (most commonly):

    > Ceviche (Raw Fish marinated in Lime Juice with Onions, Cilantro & Chiles)
    > Lightly steamed Shell Fish with a Creamy Chile Sauce
    > Pickled Pork Skins & Cabbage
    > Shredded Chicken & Mushrooms in Chipotle Sauce

    [​IMG]

    In addition, to tostadas the Bars typically serve Spicy Seafood Cocktails, Spicy Chicken Wings, Ribs, Cheese Plates & Hangover Soups like Menudo.


    To conclude the Street & Bar foods section....I would like to point out...that these, extremely casual & inexpensive foods, that are supremely prepared on the spot....are often passed off as Mexican Restaurant food that IS NOT supremely prepared on the spot.....as such the whole point is missed.
     
  9. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Mexican Cuisine will be continued tomorrow....when we start hitting Grown Up / Sit Down foods.
     
  10. Don Boppero 3000

    Don Boppero 3000 DNALMQNLGLLMX

    Jan 15, 2001
    Club:
    Club América
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    I'm glad you did this. I dated a Columbian girl that thought she was worldly and vastly knowledgable about all things. Anyway she was shocked to find out Mexicans eat more than just the stuff mention aboved.


    :rolleyes:
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.
  11. edvc_van

    edvc_van New Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    Canada
    I'm still surprised about the ignorance of people regarding mexican food. Specially from americans and canadians. They are so close to us and our country and yet believe nachos, burritos and all the taco bell manu are mexican food, or tacos are made with ground meat, cheddar cheese and sour cream. Hell! I have never seen a person buy sour cream in mexico nor seen it in any menu. I haven't even had sour cream in mexico and I'm mexican.

    The most ridiculous and completely absurd and fake mexican food I have ever had was in Japan. The owner was a japanese guy who also happened to own 2 mexican restaurants in Los Angeles and some other city in California. My friends and I ordered like 6 different dishes and I was completely shocked to see the monstruosities they have had created. The first order of Tacos was a fricking spring roll cut into 3 pieces filled with cabagge and ground meat. Those three tiny pieces looked so lonely in that huge plate. The outside of those tacos were as crunchy as a spring roll. It had no flavour.
    The other order of tacos was a reincarnation of a korean dish called Bi Bim Bap. 5% of the dish was meat, the rest was carrots, onions, green pepper, tons of bean sprouts and mushrooms and fricking egg on top of everything, with 3 flour tortillas on the side. All of course in a fricking BOWL! Horrendous!! And of course the visit to the mexican restaurant couldn't be complete without the so typical and FAKE!, I may add, Nachos ( but this times topped with soy sprouts) and Mexican style french fries:confused:
    The Waiters were dressed as Will smith in Wild wild West and Mel gibson in meverick. :confused: The Interiors were weird. I didn't know if I was at an Irish Pub or a Movie set where actors were filmed playing poker or Taco Palenque.
    The Best and only good thing of all the meal was the beer and the tequila. Got completely drunk! and felt like ******** during the train ride back home!

    As I said the owner was japanese and also owned a couple of restaurants in California. The next time anybody here eats a fake hard shell taco, fajitas, burritos or anything like that, well you are guaranteed to be eating from a restaurant that is owned by people who have no knowledge about mexican food.

    At least I can understand a country like japan having completely ********ed up and false ideas about mexican, but north americans? amazing. :eek:
     
  12. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Soup

    The Most Important Course in a Mexican Meal


    Soup is Mexico, Mexico is Soup. Foreigners are always shocked to learn that Mexico, with its temperate to hot climates, is crazy for Soup. But, the reality is that it is the single most important course in a proper meal, whether at home, in a humble Fonda, or the most elegant restaurant.....we either have a light soup as a starter, or a heart soup as a main course.....but they rarely fail.


    No one makes Soups better than Mexicans. It seems that everytime I am in a restaurant in Mexico, I overhear an excited foreigner saying something like "...this is best chicken soup I have ever had..." There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different soups in Mexico....but typically there a couple of dozens that are commonly consumed on a regular basis.
     
  13. Frieslander

    Frieslander Member
    Staff Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    North Jersey
    Re: Soup

    now I'm hungry.
     
  14. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Light Soups

    Everday Vegetable Soup


    Traditional Mexican dining is composed of a hearty breakfast (Alumuerzo), the big meal of the day (Comida) is eaten around 2 P.M., and a light supper (Cena) 8 to 10 P.M.


    The Comida is commonly started wtih a Vegetable Soup, the most common of which are Seasonal Vegetables in Tomato-based broth:

    [​IMG]

    ....variations include smoky Dried Chile based broths, and herby green soups flavored with pureed herbs such as Cilantro or Flat Leaf Parsley.


    It as also very common in Mexico, as you will learn later, to have vegetable based main courses....in this case, people will typically serve a light, high protein soup as the first course....such as:

    [​IMG]

    The ubiquitous "Lime Soup" so common in the Yucatan. In this case, the base of the broth is a citrus fruit that is unique to the Yucatan, whose zest is fragant & not bitter like regular limes, supported by a foundation of garlic & onion.

    Note, Chicken is the most commonly consumed animal in Mexico. The chicken is inexpensive, flavorful....and a decent replacement for the Turkey which was Ancient Mexico's most commonly consumed animal.

    Legume based soups also provide protein to a largely vegetarian meal. The most common in Contemporary Mexico are the pureed Black Bean soups, but those that are close to their roots prefer the Bean soups, that are only partially pureed, and which also contain wilted greens or cactus:

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the Bean Soups...there also dozens of soups that incorporate legumes brought from Europe....such as Fava Beans, Lentils & Garbanzos. Fava Beans are typically pureed with Cumin & Herbs...then served with poached cactus and chopped cilantro. Lentils are typically served in Adobo Broths (think non sweet, spicy barbecue sauce). Garbanzos are typically simmered in a dried chile broth resembling the one used in Pozole.

    Regional specialties include Chilled Pureed Avocado Soups, Cheese Soups, Vermicelli & Vegetables, Green Plaintain Soups and many others.
     
  15. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Hearty Soups

    When we don't have the money or time to prepare the elaborate multi-course meals, of our daily rituals, we have Caldos, hearty soups that combine meats and vegetables in Mexico's supremely flavored broths for a filling & healthy one course meal.

    Caldos are brothy soups that are packed with rustic chunks of meats & vegetables:

    [​IMG]


    These Caldos, come in dozens of variations that span the gamut of Mexican flavors, but are typicallly made with Chicken, Beef, Shrimp or Fish and vegetables such as Corn on the Cob, Mexican Zucchini, Chayote Squash, Carrots, Potato, Tomatoes, Green Beans and recent incorporations such as Cauliflower & Broccoli. Mexican Rice, which is not commonly consumed in Mexico, makes its appearance as the ideal side to a Caldo.


    Another common hearty soup, Pozole is typically made with Chicken or Pork (dark meat). The flavorful broth incorporates the flavor of the fresh meat, with a dried chile & oregano puree...and hominy (corn that is dried then boiled to reconstitute). The ideal Pozole is prepared without too much hominy...so that it is quite brothy....then it is topped with chilled cabbage, lettuce, radishes, dried oregano & a couple of squeezes of lime:

    [​IMG]

    Pozoles also come in dozens of varieties, including Pozole Verde:

    [​IMG]



    In addition to Caldos & Pozoles, we also have the VERY ubiquitous & unique Menudo. Menudo tranlates to Mix or Variety....because this legendary Spicy Hang-Over remedy is made from organs & meats leftover from the butchering process. They are typically made from Stomach Lining & Tripe, but I prefer Beef Hooves or Oxtails myself.

    Note, Menudos have always been a Sunday brunch meal for two reasons:

    > Mexicans have always worked 6 days a week...Saturday night being party night....since Sunday was the day of rest.

    > In the pre-supermarket world, big animals such as cows & pigs were only butchered on Saturday...so that they would be fresh for the special Sunday meal.
     
  16. Beerking

    Beerking Member+

    Nov 14, 2000
    Humboldt County
    Now I'm hungry:D

    The burrito was invented in the USA, wasn't it? I used to work with a Mexican woman who brought in home-made Sopes. Damn tasty but she loved them hotter than hades. Nothing beat authentic!!
     
  17. 655321

    655321 New Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    The Mission, SF
    Gee...thanks, Professor. I won't be in class tomorrow, as I'll be munching down on a taco platter...complete with sour cream, cheese, avocado and served with a side of rice and beans.

    P.S. Tex-Mex just tastes better. It's called 'evolution'. Sorry to be the one to tell you.
     
  18. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Saucy Pot Roasts

    There are dozens of Saucy Pot Roasts in the Mexican repertoire. They are typically referred to as "Mole de Olla" (Pot Mole) or "Chile de..." (Chili).


    These Pot Roasts come in a variety of flavor combinations, but they follow similar cooking techniques:

    > Some type of meat is browned in a Cazuela (a pot that is very similar in shape to a Dutch Oven and which is typically made from clay) then set aside.

    > The fat in the pot is used to "fry" a fresh smooth salsa or paste made from Roasted / Blackened vegetables such as Tomatoes, Tomatillos (Tangy Green "Tomatoes"), Chiles (Fresh or Dried) & Garlic.

    > After the sauce has reduced...and the flavor is rounded. A combination of water & broth is added back.

    > The meat is returned to the pot to simmer in the brothy salsa.

    > When the meat is almost fall of the bone tender... more vegetables are added to the pot, and allowed to melt into the sauce for about 10 minutes (typically Greens, Cactus, Mexican Zucchini, or Potatoes)


    Pork in Chile Verde is a common dish in the United States, where it is typically made from stew meat, the meat is not browned, does not include the additional vegetables and is served with the stereotypical rice & beans:

    [​IMG]

    Those who know what they are doing, prefer to make this dish from Country Ribs (the meat is tender & more attractive), add whatever Mexican Green is in season...and serve it with a refreshing side of Sliced Tomatoes, Avocado, Fresco cheese or a Crispy White Beans (a relatively dry puree of White Beans that is sauteed with a little bit of oil over high heat...so that it forms a little bit of a fried surface)

    Another common Saucy Pot Roast in the U.S. is Chile Colorado, typically made from Beef Stew Meet and a deep maroon sauce...that features dried chiles, dried herbs & sweet spices such as cloves. The American Chili traditional most likely descends from the northern border versions of Chile Colorado or Chilorio.

    Ingredients are mixed and match to create dozens of flavor profiles. As you can imagine there is a saucy Pot Roast for everytype of Salsa or Mexican Seasoning Paste you have encountered. A slight variation of this, are the Ranchera or Mexicana pot roasts...in which a Tomatoe-Oregano Salsa is used for simmering Beef then Sauteed Onions & Jalapenos are added the last couple of minutes. Another classic combination in these Pot Roasts are Chicken with Tomatoes & Mint.


    Typical Cazuela
    [​IMG]
     
  19. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!

    You don't know what you are talking about....it is a huge step down from Mexican Cuisine to Tex Mex or Southwest Cuisine.
     
  20. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!

    I think that the Burrito with Rice & Beans was certainly invented in California or Texas. However, in Northern Mexico people have been having a similar dish for a very long time. I prefer not to dismiss Northern Mexican cuisine's authenticity...what we do know is that Burritos are hard to find in Central & Southern Mexico.
     
  21. 655321

    655321 New Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    The Mission, SF
    The big burrito that's so popular now is generally considered to be invented in San Francisco.
     
  22. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Mexican Closed Pit Cooking

    Anybody from Texas, Kansas or North Carolina understands that Real Barbecuing is NOT grilling meat. Instead, Barbecue refers to a slow cooking technique involving smoke & indirect heat. Today, authentic American Barbecue is prepared in Clay Brick Ovens to comply with contemporary sanitary standards. Likewise in Mexico City, Barbacoa is prepared in Brick Ovens...but in rural Mexico (particularly Mexico State, Hidalgo & the Yucatan) "Barbecues" are still prepared in Underground Covered Clay Pits as they have been prepared for thousands of years.

    Barbecue is the Anglicized word for Barbacoa, which itself is the Spanicized word of Taino (Carribean) indigenous origin. Columbus first encountered this style of cooking in the Carribean...and that name has come to dominate. Food historians believe that Barbecue originated in the Yucatan (where it is refered to as Pibil), and then spread throughout the Caribbean as tribes populated the Carribbean from the Mexican & Central America mainland.

    http://www.fiery-foods.com/dave/nancy0504.asp

    Anthropologists, have found Pits that date back to the Early Olmec Civiliation (about 2,000 B.C.) in Eastern Mexico (just north of the Yucatan).


    As in the U.S., Mexico has regional variations. One of Mexico's most lauded is the Central Mexican Barbecue that is popular in Mexico State & Hidalgo. Today, it is is prepared with a Whole Lamb (in Ancient Mexico it was probably made from Small Deer, Rabbits & Turkey).

    The Lamb is marinated with Garlic, Dried Herbs & Vinegar wrapped in Agave Leaves (the same plant form which Tequila is made)...the Agave wrapped Lamb is set on top of a Pot filled with Vegetables & Chickpeas (so that the juices drip into the pot to create a tasty soup). Volcanic rocks are heated for 24 Hours...then set at the bottom of the pit, dried aromatic wood is place on top of the rocks to create smoke...the Pot & Lamb is set on top of the wood, the pit is sealed and the food allowed to cook for about 12 Hours.

    [​IMG]

    In Southern Mexico, the Lamb is typically marinated in a Paste (similar flavor profil as Chile Colorado with a little more Cloves)...then slow cooked.

    In the Yucatan, Pibil is usually made with Pork that has been marinated in Tropical Spices such as Achiote (aka Annatto...a Flower Bud with an earthy flavor & strong brick red color that is also used to give American Cheddar Cheese its yellow color...without affecting the flavor), and Bitter (Seville) Oranges.

    In the Yucatan, they prefer to use Banana leaves as the wrapper (not surprising given that is what they have in the Tropics). And they serve their Pork Pibil with Plantains & Red Onions Marinated in Bitter Orange juice.

    [​IMG]

    As with the Sauce Pot Roasts, when I make Barbacoa/Pibil at home, or have it at a nice restaurant, I prefer "whole meats" rather than pulled shreeded meats...e.g., Lamb Shank, Whole Squab, Game Hen or Rabbit...etc.,
     
  23. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!

    I really, really doubt it. If anything, it was more likely to be invented in Los Angeles...because of the historically greater Mexican population. Now, Chop Suey...was most likely invented in S.F....but I would think the Burrito is more of an L.A. thing.

    Nonetheless, the name Burrito (Little Donkey) is attributed to the first wave of Mexican immigrants during the 1920's economic booms. Since most of Mexico was devasted by the 10 Year Revolution (Civil War), Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. to feed its booming demand for labor. Because these young teenagers, typically War Orphans, had no wives the Farms would feed them. In traditional Mexican rural societies...food was always carried in Pots & Picnic baskets (to wherever the men were working on) on a Donkey. At some point someone decided to wrap the food in a Flour Tortilla to make transport more efficient (hundreds of mouths rather than a few)....and those dishes became intricately associated with the Donkeys themselves. There are similiar stories in Northern Mexico with the Mulita (Little Mule).
     
  24. jmarquez1976

    jmarquez1976 New Member

    May 5, 2005
    No muerdas!
    Ancient Pressure Cookers

    Another brilliant Ancient Mexican cooking technique is the use of Plants to create pouches filled with Meats & Vegetables that are cooked on a Griddle. The moisture in the vegetables turns in to steam that cooks the food, very similarly to a Modern Pressure Cooker...resulting in brilliantly melded, fork tender, earthy meals that take on the flavors of their Pouches. This cooking technique, which has survived for thousands of years, has even influenced French cooking where they regularly make little pouches in wax paper as appetizers.

    [​IMG]

    In Central Mexico, these Pouches were traditionally made from Agave leaves, and edible Cactus Leaves.

    http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/shrimpnopalesmixiote.htm


    In Southern Mexico they were traditionally made with Banana leaves, which has become the most common method in Mexico since making Mixiotes from Agave was outlawed.

    In the Gulf of Mexico, the Hoja Santa aka Yierba Santa, aka Hierba Santa, aka Acuyo, aka Root Beer plant....is used primarily to wrap fish.

    [​IMG]


    This is an extremely versatile way of cooking, as such there are thousands of Mexican receipes that combine every imaginable combination of Herbs & Spices with veggies & Poultry, Meats, Seafood or Vegetarian dishes.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.bigoven.com/recipe112398

    http://www.restmex.com/recipes/0304lamb.shtml
     
  25. 655321

    655321 New Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    The Mission, SF
    Chop Suey was invented in SF, yes.

    The invention of the overstuffed burrito that is so big now, what with the popularity of god-awful places like Chipotle and what not, is debatable, with towns and cities all over California claiming rights, but most people claim it was invented, or AT LEAST perfected, in San Francisco's Mission District.
     

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