A taco carne asada, washed down with a crisp cerveza in a dusty roadside taqueria. Fresh-from-the-sea ceviche eaten on the beach. Bright, lively salsa and complex, long-simmered mole poblano. Embodied in these dishes and countless more, are the rich and vibrant history of Mexico itself. Chorizo, a spicy pork sausage, reflects the influence of 16th-century Spanish conquistadors; the cornmeal-thickened drink called atole dates back to the time of the Aztecs; and chocolate residue was found in a teapot used by the Mayans in 500 BC. Mexico’s global influence shines through its glorious array of indigenous foods, which includes corn, avocados, chiles and chocolate, to name a few.
In Mexico, there is a saying: Panzallena, corazón content — full belly, happy heart. Along with so many recipes, the connection between food and pleasure has been passed down for centuries.
Come along as we explore the key ingredients, cooking techniques, recipes and cookbooks of this ancient cuisine. If all you know are the tacos, enchiladas and burritos of your local Mexican restaurant, a wealth of delicious — and surprisingly healthy — new experiences await on the pages that follow.