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The Diversity of our Comida

30 April / 2018

 

We are so lucky to be Mexican! Hey, how often have you heard that lately? Well, it’s time to say it out loud, comadres!

Mexico is a fantastic country and the American Southwest, which at one time was part of Mexico, is a fantastic region. We are connected by land, our love of language, our love of familia, and our love of food. We are kindred spirits. In many instances, we did not cross the border. The border crossed us. So here we all are in this extraordinary land at an extraordinary time. This land mass that we occupy, Mexico and the North American Southwest, holds our roots and represents centuries of customs, languages and flavors. We come together to form a wonderful amalgamation.

Amalgamation is what happens when two or more cultures blend together to create a new one – in Spanish it is called Mestizaje. That’s what happened to us, our customs, our food and our way of life. ¡Que viva el Mestizaje!

It started when our Spanish ancestors landed in Vera Cruz, painful as it was for our indigenous brothers and sisters. It was a brutal birth, but the results were complex, rich, beautiful and diverse. Our food grew out of that mestizaje and now we have one of the most varied and delicious foods in the world.

From our Spanish ancestors we got wheat, cows, pigs, chicken, horses and sugar. From our indigenous ancestors we got corn, potatoes, tomatoes, chiles, and chocolate!

Say those words out loud and let your imagination and your taste buds explode!

If it hadn’t been for the Spaniards, we would not have our beloved flour tortillas. And where would be without the corn of our indigenous grandmothers? Picture a day without tacos, burritos, enchiladas, pozole, menudo, and tostadas, and picture a sad, sad day! Imagine New Mexico without the red, the green and the Christmas!

And don’t even get me started on where I personally would be without chocolate.

Every region of Mexico and the North American Southwest has its knockout specialty dishes and as De Las Mías grows, we want to proudly feature all of them and teach you how to enhance those dishes to make them healthier.

 

Here is a small run-down of our favorite Mexican and Southwestern foods and signature dishes.

  • Arizona: Machaca
  • California: Fish Tacos
  • New Mexico: Green Chile Stew
  • Texas: Fajitas
  • Oaxaca: Mole Negro
  • Puebla: Pipian
  • Sinaloa: Chilorio
  • Tijuana: Caesar Salad
  • Jalisco: Birria
  • Sonora: Caldo de Queso

 

Some of them you will find in De Las Mías and some of them you will have to dig around on your own.  Talk to your mothers, abuelas, madrinas and comadres. Hear their stories. Start collecting family recipes and pass them on. Pass them on to us and we’ll have our expert chef and nutritionist hack them for you and teach you how to make lighter versions that don’t compromise flavor. And when we can’t hack them and make them healthier, we won’t recommend that you give them up. If we can’t make it lighter, you will simply hear us say, ¡Go easy on the portion size, comadre!  

Enjoy our “Poquito de todo,” philosophy.

Enjoy the fruits of our amazing Mestizaje! Be a proud Latina enjoying the riches that our multicultural cornucopia has to offer – and ¡Buen Provecho!

As Evie Righter, author of the lovely little book, The Best of Mexico so aptly puts it, “Every cuisine in the world is rooted in history. And while volumes have been written about Mexico’s past, it is only recently that the cuisine of this dramatic, vibrant country has been chronicled for its extraordinary complexity and diversity and it is marvelous melding of different cultures and distinct regions. It is spirited; it is strong; it is from the ground up. Its beginnings are ancient.”

I love this paragraph and I see how it also applies to that same cultural legacy we benefit from in the American Southwest. At De Las Mías we will always strive to highlight the diversity of our food and strength of our cultural heritage. The changes we make in our test kitchen with the help of our chef Lori and our nutritionist Malena, will never compromise flavor and always strive to enhance your ¡Salud!

Here are some great resources we want to share with you to start exploring the glorious and exquisite foods of Mexico and the Southwest. Here are some of the books I keep on my shelf and 2 websites I am particularly fond of:

 

Books

Diane Kennedy’s – The Essential Cuisines of Mexico

A tattered copy of my mom’s — La Cocina de Doña Adela by Adela Romo de Escamilla

 

Websites

De Las Mías

Comida Mexicana

 

Other Books on my Shelf:

Susanna Palazuelos’ and Marilyn Tausend’s Mexico the Beautiful Cookbook

Evie Righter’s The Best of Mexico

Marilyn Tausend’s and Miguel Ravago’s Cocina de La Familia

Fabiola Cabeza de Vaca Gilbert’s The Good Life: New Mexico Traditions and Food

Jane Milton’s Mexican: Healthy Ways with a Favorite Cuisine

 

 

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