Mexican food in many ways reflects the culture from which it originated: robust, spicy, colorful, and vibrant. It’s a tapestry of rich and beautiful textures and flavors, waiting to be explored, and in this day and age the tools to do so are right at your fingertips. If you’re ready for a taste of Mexico, all you need to do is tap into the wealth of information available through your smartphone.
Inspiration and Ideas
Exploring a culture can be a daunting prospect, especially if you aren’t comfortable in the kitchen. If you’re struggling with finding a starting point, look to a favorite restaurant or bakery for inspiration. El Pavo Bakery, for example, offers not only a wide selection of delicious breads and pastries, but also scrumptious meal selections like pork with salsa verde, pollo de tinga and quesadillas.
Much information is available through popular recipe websites like FoodandWine.com or AllRecipes, but you can also learn through your own perception. Try thinking through the flavors and ingredients you sense in your favorites from local restaurants. Is there a hint of something sour or sweet? What foods bring the colors you see in the meal? When in doubt, connect with the eatery of your choice to learn more about the foods you love; chefs sometimes share information about their recipes and offer tips to help you recreate similar meals in your home.
Tech and Techniques
You don’t need a commercial kitchen in order to be successful with Mexican cooking, but you do need to set up an appropriate space for creating these cultural delights. Enough countertop space to spread out your ingredients, bowls, tools for measuring and mixing, and other basic cooking equipment is a must, and if you plan to follow recipes and tutorials from the internet, you should make room for your phone or tablet, as well as a handy stand. With a proper setup, you’ll be ready to start on your culinary journey.
Tastessence explains there are several traditional Mexican cooking methods worth exploring, and there are plenty of articles and guides online to lead you. Mexican cooking techniques range from some that you are probably familiar with, like baking, grilling, frying, stewing, and boiling, to some that might be new to you, like dry roasting and using a comal.
Dry roasting is particularly useful for bringing out the rich flavors that are inherent in salsas. And by using techniques like marinating inexpensive cuts for hours, you can bring out the very best flavors and tenderness in your meats.
Foods for Festivities
The next time a holiday rolls around, take the opportunity to dive into a new-to-you Mexican meal. Mexico has a tradition of delicious foods that are something to celebrate in and of themselves, but you can let a special day lead your menu choices.
For Cinco de Mayo, you might be surprised to learn it is not generally celebrated in Mexico by imbibing. Instead of margaritas, New York Daily News suggests you might want to make mole poblano to celebrate this special day. The date is not actually Independence Day, either, as so many people believe; that day falls on September 16. Cinco de Mayo recognizes Mexico's victory at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. When September 16 rolls around, you might want to make some pozole or carnitas to celebrate Mexican Independence.
Mexicans also celebrate some of the same holidays many people around the world celebrate, like Christmas and the New Year. Tamales, ensalada de Noche Buena (Mexican Christmas salad), and flan de pera are just a few dishes you might like to try during this wonderful time of the year. Round things out on January 6 — Three Kings Day — by celebrating with traditional and delicious Rosca De Reyes from El Pavo Bakery; you can place your order online and pick it up at your neighborhood location.
Foods tend to reflect the cultures that create them, and that is certainly true of Mexican food. When you’re ready to become more familiar with Mexican culture and traditions, do some exploring from the comfort of your kitchen. Whether you choose sweet, spicy, savory, or some of each, your taste buds will thank you for the adventure. ¡Viva México!
By Eric Kelly of My Dadventures