LaHacienda :: Restaurante Mexicano :: Peterborough Ontario
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About Mexican Food - A Brief History

The Conquest of Mexico in 1521 gave rise to one of the richest culinary revolutions in history. When the Spanish explorer Cortez and his followers came to the new world in search of fortune, they found a wealth of culinary specialties such as chocolate, peanuts, vanilla, beans, squash, avocados, coconuts, corn and tomatoes.

In turn the Spanish brought to the Americas products such as pork, beef, lamb, citrus fruits, garlic, cheese, milk, wheat, vinegar and wine. Montezuma, the great Aztec emperor, was previously warned that one day bearded men mounted on animals like giant deer would come to take over his domain, so when Montezuma heard that men had landed at Vera Cruz he was not surprised.

He made every effort to keep them in Vera Cruz by offering them great riches, but after seeing the riches it spurred them on to see where the riches came from. On November 8, 1519, Cortez entered Montezuma's capitol along with seven thousand native soldiers he had recruited along the way. He was received by Montezuma and given a great feast, but the cordial relations between the Spanish captain and the Aztec emperor were short lived.

After many bloody battles, on August 13th 1521, Cortez claimed the capitol. The conquerors systematically destroyed the Aztec empire and replaced it with Spanish structures and Institutions, but they never succeeded in extinguishing the native culture and traditions, which are still part of Mexico today.

The emerging Mexican cuisine was constantly being enriched from many different countries. Recipes and ingredients from Africa, South America, Caribbean, France and the orient found their way through the Spanish - Mexico conduit.

The cuisines of these countries were melded together into new culinary specialties and became what we now call Mexican food. This cuisine is constantly being changed by outside influences, even today.

Mexican Food Glossary