El Chubby’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Aurora serves a wide variety of authentic Mexican food, but if you know Mexican food history, you know that authentic Mexican food is believed to come from the Mayan Indians who were prolific nomadic hunters and gatherers. They ate corn tortillas with bean paste, wild game, tropic fruits, and fish.
According to the World Food and Wine website, it was in the mid-1300s, when a thriving Aztec Empire made the use of chili peppers, honey, salt, and chocolate became part of their cooking. Wild game, like turkeys and ducks, were also domesticated.
Spain invaded Mexico in 1521 and Spanish foods began to have a big influence on Mexican food. They introduced them to new livestock, like sheep, pigs, and cows. They brought with them dairy products, garlic, different herbs, wheat, and spices. Mexican people incorporated many different food styles into their culture, including Caribbean, South American, French, West African, and Portuguese. Even today Mexican food is diverse and vary from region to region.
In the early days, Mexicans did not have ovens and instead cooked food over an open fire, using cast iron skillets and ceramic ware. They also used steaming, suspending meat wrapped in cactus or banana leaves, over boiling water in a deep pit. Frying as a cooking method was also added to their repertoire.
They had tools for grinding food like a metate y mano, which is a large tool made of lava rock or stone. They also used the molcaiete, which was smaller, and helped them grind and smash ingredients. It was like a mortar and pestle, using a small bowl-shaped container that was made of stone, hardwood, pottery, or marble, and a baseball bat shaped pestle.
Salsa, the Spanish word for sauce, which is so popular in America now, was sold in the Aztec marketplaces. Salsa is uncooked and sometimes pureed until smooth, chunky, or chopped. It often includes ingredients such as large red tomatoes, tomatillo, chipotle, and avocado.
The term enchilada, which means “in chile”, was first referenced in the United States in 1885, but the Aztecs used tortillas as a wrap.
The tomatillo is a fruit dating back to at least 800 BC and provides tart flavor in many different green sauces. There is archaeological evidence that peppers have been used since 5000 BC.
The tamale can be traced to before Columbus. It was documented by Friar Bernardino de Sahagun that the Spaniards were given tamales by the Aztecs in the 1550s.
Mexican food incorporated many different ingredients and styles of cooking from other cultures and countries, but in exchange, Mexican food has influenced cuisine around the world.
Now, when you sit down to eat authentic Mexican food at El Chubby’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Aurora, you will appreciate Mexican food history, which makes everything taste so much better!