The Cuisine Of Mexico

articles Food & Cuisine Regional Cuisines

Karen Hursh Graber

Mexico presents a different face to each person that meets her. Traveling through the country is an experience unique to the individual, even to people on the same journey, whether they be tourists spending a week at an ultra-modern beach resort or ethnologists visiting remote indigenous villages. Each of us has a personal framework through which to view an unfamiliar place or revisit a favorite spot. As a food writer and cooking teacher, one of my own focuses while traveling is seeking out the distinct cuisine of each region I visit, exploring both everyday and ritual foods and beverages. I naturally gravitate toward the local markets, restaurants and food stalls, and living in Mexico for several years has given me plenty of opportunity to do so.

The culinary practices of a particular area are nearly always a reflection of its history, cultural and religious orientation, and natural resources. Historian Jeffery M. Pilcher, in ¡Qué viven los tamales!: Food and the making of Mexican Identity tells us that the native foods and flavors of each region were essential to the formation of what has come to be considered a national cuisine. In searching for these flavors, with the idea of sharing them with other Mexican food aficionados, I have come upon some of the many remarkable attractions, both natural and man-made, with which Mexico is filled.

The ancient Mayan temples of the Yucatan, the fantastic colonial churches of Puebla, and the Paricutin volcano of Michoacan, its lava literally frozen in time, are just a few of the splendid sights encountered while following the scent of regional Mexican cuisine. Whether you are interested in visiting Mexico or content with being an armchair traveler; whether you enjoy cooking or just reading about food, perhaps you will be inspired to begin a journey of your own, seeing these places through your particular perception, or lending your individual touch to some of the recipes.

This is not meant to be a guidebook or handbook; it certainly does not include every state in the country, but rather those in which I have experienced exceptional cuisine and spectacular points of interest.

A list of ingredient sources, as well as a calendar of the traditional yearly food festivals in different parts of Mexico have been included.

So sit back, relax and enjoy your trip.

¡Buen viaje y buen provecho!

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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