The History of Mexican Cuisine and its Movement onto Our Plates

In a world with endless food options being presented to us daily, one of the most common and most appreciated is Mexican cuisine. With its diverse, extremely flavorful, colorful and exciting presentation- Mexican cuisine presents itself as a hearty competitor against many of its opponents. At Macho’s Fast Mexican Food & Drinks in Durango, Colorado, we are certainly advocates for this delicious food movement and encourage its growth in the food industry. Before diving into your next combo plate or sipping on your next margarita, read this short discussion on the history of Mexican cuisine and how it has made its way onto our menus, and into our bellies.

The Beginning of Something Special  

In today’s culture, Mexican food often gets categorized quickly into the most recognizable categories such as burritos and tacos. But it turns out, the history behind even the the simplest of these foods is very rich. According to this article, it is believed that Mexican food truly began with the Mayan Indians in the mid 1300s, who were producing and consuming corn tortillas with bean paste. They also often consumed fish, tropical fruits, and wild game. Years later they began to introduce chili peppers, honey and chocolate. When Spain invaded Mexico in 1521, the evolution of Mexican food really began to thrive with the introduction of new livestock, dairy products, herbs, and wait for it- GARLIC! From there the growth of flavors and techniques continued, and eventually began to overflow into the surrounding countries.

Mexican Cuisine Makes its Move Across the Border

In the next couple hundred years, the number of Mexican immigrants heading north to the United States was steadily increasing, and with that their cooking traditions were making a solid influence on the restaurant industry. The United States is often referred to as the “melting pot” of many cultures, and this statement is certainly true in reference to our adoption of food. Over the years the categorization of what we consider Mexican cuisine has evolved from traditional salsa and tortillas, to the epic merging of two cultures to create the Tex-Mex movement as discussed here. Some people argue that most of what is served in Mexican restaurants today isn’t authentic, and has been altered to appeal to a larger crowd in America. But although the entire dish might not be served exactly how it was hundreds of years ago- there is no denying that the roots of Mexican cuisine continue to pull through in exquisite and interesting ways.

A Strange Little History on Some of Our Fan Favorites

Oddly enough some of the foods that we consistently categorize as Mexican, actually have a very different creation than we thought. The tortilla chip, for example, has several possible creators behind its evolution but the main story line is the same. The tortilla chip was accidently discovered while trying to find a use for oddly shaped tortillas and tortilla scraps. To everyone’s surprise this accident was a complete success, and continues to be one of the most common snack foods you will find. Alongside the introduction of the tortilla chip, is an equally interesting tale of the invention of nachos. According to several sources, around the year 1950 or so, several women went into a restaurant located in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. After a couple rounds of drinks, they asked their waiter for something a little bit different than what they normally get for snacks. The waiter’s name was Ignacio Anaya, also known as Nacho, and what he did next would change the appetizer game in restaurants forever. He took some of the fried pieces of tortillas in the kitchen, put some shredded cheese and jalapenos on the top and put it in the oven to warm it up. Upon receiving the new dish, the women were absolutely ecstatic and the rest is legend.

We can also credit the Aztec and Mayan Indians with the creation of what is now the most popular condiment in America, even surpassing ketchup and mayo- salsa. In its early days, this versatile concoction consisted of tomatoes, chile peppers and ground squash seeds. It has since evolved into countless flavors and consistencies, is bottled by some of the largest food manufacturing companies in the United States, and is still considered to be a healthier food option for snacking purposes. Fajitas are another very popular menu item in Mexican restaurants which contain grilled skirt steak pieces, and they are believed to have been created directly in line with the rest of the Tex-Mex food movement.

In the end, it seems that all Mexican cuisine has had a very interesting beginning and its introduction to our restaurants has been a welcome and exciting addition. At Macho’s Fast Mexican Food & Drinks in Durango, Colorado, we celebrate our favorite type of food every single day by serving authentic and delicious dishes, and we invite you to celebrate with us!