Traditional Mexican food preparation brings out flavor

Posted on May 01 2016 in General

guacamole-webDespite advancements in technology, the basic tools and techniques for preparing Mexican food, especially the staple corn tortillas, have stayed relatively constant.

Have you used these traditional Mexican cooking tools?

  • Cazuela: an earthenware pot used for boiling corn, moles and beans
  • Metate: a small, sloped, stone table used to grind corn
  • Prensa: a wooden or metal tortilla press (Traditionally, corn was flattened into cakes of various thicknesses by hand.)
  • Comal: a flat utensil essential to making tortillas
  • Molcajete: a sauce bowl also used to grind all ingredients in salsa (A liquadora, or blender, has taken over some of the molcajete’s work in some modern Mexican kitchens.)
  • Olla: a deep, handled clay steamer used for preparing tamales
  • Molinillo: a wooden hand beater used to whip frothy chocolate drinks

Mexican cuisine was originally based on preparing native foods — corn, beans and chili peppers — using Aztec and Mayan Indian cooking practices, but because of the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, Spaniards added meat and dairy products to the everyday Mexican diet.

There’s a rich history behind Mexican food and traditional cooking techniques. Depending on how the food is prepared, taste and texture will vary. Experiment with different cooking methods with your homemade Mexican meals to see if you notice a difference.


What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, celebrates the Mexican army’s victory against France at the Battle of the Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862.

With 6,000 French troops prepared to attack a small town in east-central Mexico, Mexico’s then-president sent 2,000 men to the town — vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied. But they fortified the city before the attack and forced the French to retreat after the opposition lost almost 500 soldiers.

Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico. It’s primarily observed in Puebla where the battle occurred. But in the United States, the holiday has evolved to be a large celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.

Cinco de Mayo is not the same as Mexican Independence Day, which honors the priest who declared war against the Spanish colonial government in on Sept. 16, 1810 — nearly 50 years before the Battle of the Puebla.