How Was Mexican Food 200 Years Ago?

Have you ever wondered what Mexican food was like two hundred years ago? Here are a few examples. Besides meat, Mexican food consisted of amaranth and camotes, which you can find in many different places today. Then there was «Spanish» yellow rice, served in nearly every pseudo Mexican restaurant. Even the name «Mexican» can have different meanings, depending on the time of day.


How was Mexican food 200 years ago? Historically, the native population of Mexico relied on a diet of beans, tortillas, and 90 chilies. This diet was not very diverse, but there were some notable differences. Throughout Mexican history, the natives adapted to changes in their environment. The Aztecs, for example, were able to grow corn and domesticate it. These changes led to the development of corn tortillas and other corn-based breads.

The Spanish colonizers brought with them Roman, Sephardic, and Moorish cooking, but the natives kept the real Mexican cuisine alive by mixing imported dishes with indigenous ingredients and dishes. This kind of cooking remained common in homes and became known as «Home Cooking» — a form of food that was eaten in everyday life or on special occasions. Today, authentic Mexican food is rarely found in restaurants.

Besides corn, Mexicans also ate Camotes, which were first grown in Peru around 8000 BCE. Camotes are a notable source of protein, especially for the poor. In the early cultures of the lower Americas, the food consisted of wild corn, vegetables, insects, and jungle protein. They also consumed turkeys, doves, and hairless dogs. And while the diet of today’s Mexicans is far more diverse than it was in the distant past, it still holds a special place in the history of Mexican food.


Amaranth, an ancient grain, was domesticated by the Aztecs in southern Mexico. They pounded it into flour and used it in tortillas and tamales. The Aztecs revered the amaranth and used it as a staple in their diets. However, until the Spanish conquistadors and the Catholic Church introduced the grain to Mexico, it was largely ignored. In Mexico, it was considered sacred.

Before the Spanish settlers arrived, the Aztecs ate it in large quantities. Although amaranth is expensive and hard to find, it was an essential part of Mexican diets. Besides being an excellent source of fiber and vitamins, it is also edible. The combination of corn, beans, and amaranth in tortillas provides a complete protein, with all the essential amino acids. Amaranth was also widely used as a flour.

Today, amaranth is a great source of protein. In fact, it is so nutritious that NASA astronauts included it in their diets. Amaranth is an excellent substitute for meat, eggs, and dairy. It is also a great source of iron, vitamin C, and calcium. Amaranth leaves have a similar nutritional profile to spinach and can be used in baking. Amaranth is becoming more popular as a whole grain due to its climate and nutritional value.

Fresh water fish

The use of fresh water fish is common in Mexican cuisine. It was not uncommon to eat Spanish baby eels, and the Mexican population also enjoys imported seafood. Norway’s pickled herring and Spanish anchovies are popular snacks. A more extensive variety of seafood is available in Mexico City’s supermarkets. In addition to fresh seafood, many restaurants offer tinned and pickled varieties.

In Mexico, fresh water fish are often smoked or roasted. Smoked tuna is popular and is often used in appetizers. Cod is often cooked in Spanish-style sauces, and it is a popular Christmas dish. Most of the bacalao that is sold in markets is imported from Norway, and the Mexican version of cod is known as «codo adobado.» Catfish such as flounders are also common.

Cabrilla is a type of bass found off the coast of southern Mexico. It includes the spotted and barred sand bass and gold spotted bass. These fish are commonly used in ceviches and fish tacos. They are also sold in dried form. These fish are used in soups and stews. In addition to fish, Mexicans also include shrimp, crab and squid.

Insect eggs

As the World Wildlife Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organization have pointed out, many bugs provide as much protein as beef or fish, and they are far healthier than meat. Moreover, insect consumption is also an economic boon to Mexican farmers, who used to spend money on pesticides to keep pests out of their crops. And now, it is a popular delicacy in Mexico, where you can buy them by the kilo at markets like Mercado San Juan.

Insect eggs were part of Mexican food even 200 years ago. This delicacy is still a part of traditional Mexican cuisine, despite its unpleasant reputation. Insects are high in protein and contain anywhere from 10 to 80% of the body’s weight. These edible bugs can be found in all stages of development, from larva to egg. There are 300 to 550 species of insects native to Mexico.

Ancient Mexicans grew camotes and used the seeds to make a variety of products. Insects such as camotes were a major protein source for the rural poor. Although the oil extracted from these seeds was unknown to the ancients, it was consumed for its health benefits. Moreover, it was used for body emollients. Additionally, annatto seed is a bright red pigment that was used in blood/corn religion.

Fresh water algae

Many people are shocked to learn that their favorite Mexican dish contains fresh water algae. Although most people are not aware of the effects of these alga blooms, it has been known to harm humans. In addition to making our water smell bad, harmful algae blooms can also affect the ecosystem, causing human health problems. In fact, reports of harmful algae blooms have been rising in the last 40 years. As a result, they have become an increasingly serious environmental issue in the United States.

Algae are ubiquitous organisms, which means that they can be found in virtually any type of moist environment. Some are even edible. The processes that algae use to survive include osmosis and myzotrophy. Moreover, some species are known to capture solid particles and engulf them, which means that they can be found in our food. These organisms are also capable of absorbing organic carbon from our food, which makes them highly valuable as food.

Nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are required for plant growth. However, excessive nutrients can promote the growth of algae and bacteria. Many of these nutrients enter waterways through various sources, including agricultural runoff, chemical fertilizers, waste from animal feedlots, and stormwater runoff. Other sources of excess nutrients include wastewater treatment facilities and industrial waste. As a result, these sources of nutrients affect the nutrient levels of the water in the environment.


The process of nixtamalization, or lime-washing corn, originated in Mesoamerica. In pre-Columbian times, it was developed by the Aztecs, using lye or slaked lime. Native North American tribes also used soda ash and calcium hydroxide to nixtamalize corn. Today, commercial tortillas are made with this method.

The process of nixtamalization has been used in Mexico and Latin America for centuries. This process involves cooking whole corn kernels in a lime-water solution, or «nixtamal,» for five to 45 minutes. Once the corn is cooked, it is steeped in the cooking liquor, or «nejayote,» and the pericarp and germ are removed. The corn is then washed to remove excess lime and then used for soups, tacos, and tortillas. The corn fraction varies from 5 to 15 percent.

During the preparation process, corn is treated with alkali or other chemicals to make it more digestible. The resulting corn flour is called masa and is used in many traditional Latin American dishes. This corn flour is similar to a pita bread, but may be thinner or thicker. Traditional tortillas contain a small amount of protein and vegetables, so nixtamalization is a major contributor to their nutritional value.

Spanish influence

During the colonial period, the Spanish brought with them their Mediterranean-influenced culinary traditions, introducing staples such as wine and brandy. They also brought nuts and olives, and domesticated animals that increased protein content. While cheese was the main dairy product, Spanish settlers also brought rice, which allowed for the creation of syrups with local fruits. During the day, people would drink water, and at night, they would eat small portions of beans in thick soups.

The introduction of these new foods transformed the lives of the people who used to eat simple grains and meat. Other countries also had an impact on Mexican cuisine, including France, Italy, and Spain. Aside from the Spanish, European influences on Mexican food included the use of fried and spicy foods. Similarly, Italian influence influenced the cooking of indigenous people. The first cookbook to be printed in Mexico was El Cocinero Mexicano, which was written by Mariano Galvan Rivera in 1831.

Before the Spanish arrived, Aztecs lived in the region of today’s Mexico. Their food has a history that stretches back to around 7000 BCE. They had no formal written language, but corn was used to make tortillas and cornbread. Once the Spanish took control of the area in the 1500s, they introduced other ingredients to the cuisine, including spices, cacao, chili peppers, garlic, chocolate, and salt.

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