Why Mexican Food is so Fucking Delicious


By Austin Clinkenbeard

Mexican food is absolutely delicious in part because of Giant Ground Sloths keeping the avocado alive


It starts with a sloth and ends with immigrants


It starts with a sloth and ends with immigrants, as all good stories do. Mexican food is absolutely delicious in part because of Giant Ground Sloths keeping the avocado alive. These massive beasts once roamed the Americas and for a long time were the only animal large enough to digest avocado pits. Giant Sloths kept the creamy textured avocado alive once all other large American animals disappeared

Native Americans recognized the unlimited potential of the divine avocado and manually planted its seeds across Mesoamerica, ensuring its survival. We can thank sloths for preserving Avocados before people learned to farm them, and thank the various Mesoamerican cultures for planting and cultivating them as time went on. If it wasn’t for those giant sloths sharing an affinity for all things avocado, this delicious source of fat may have been lost to extinction. 

Avocados are not the only delicious food to come from the Americas to form the core of Mexican food today. Corn tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, chocolate, peanuts, squash and tortillas were all unique to the New World. Before the worlds collided in 1492 none of these foods were found anywhere but the Americas. Can you imagine Italian food without tomatoes; Thai spice without peppers?; Russian cuisine without potatoes? Before indigenous American foods met Eurasian and African traditions these cuisines were completely different. 

Everyone hears about Spanish influence on Mexican food and culture but similar to the United States Mexico was also a melting pot of many Old World cultures. Al Pastor is my personal favorite example. Not only spicy, tender and crispy, it is also a perfect representation of the multitude of wells Mexcian food draws influence from. Al Pastor originated in the Middle East, likely Lebanon. Al is not a Spanish prefix. It is an Arabic one, similar to other Arabic words like Algebra, Alchemy and Algorithm.

Lebanese immigrants to Mexico turned roasted spits of lamb into Al Pastor by exchanging the lamb for local pork, which was much more abundant. The same spices and heating techniques remained, adding to its unique combination of Middle Eastern and Mexican flavors. Cooks adopted local ingredients and methods to create what they could. Lamb gyros became pork of beef tacos. 

Lebanese immigrants to Mexico turned roasted spits of lamb into Al Pastor by exchanging the lamb for local pork, which was much more abundant. The same spices and heating techniques remained, adding to its unique combination of Middle Eastern and Mexican flavors. Cooks adopted local ingredients and methods to create what they could. Lamb gyros became pork of beef tacos. 

German immigrants contributed music and beer. Mariachi has its origins in polkas and borrows the same instruments: accordion, guitars, and bass. Comparing the two you can also hear the distinctive “ump-pah” rhythm as a core of many drum and bass lines in traditional songs. German style of brewing lights and dark beers also crept its way into Mexican culture. The purity laws and strict styles of the European homeland were challenged, changed and improved by Mexican brewers who helped create the modern Mexican lager. 

Even parts of what is now the United States contributed heavily to Mesoamerican and also Mexican cuisine. According to many early colonial accounts, the best corn tortillas were from New Mexico and the Four Corners region of the Southwest US. Corn was the foundation of the entire Mesoamerican diet in many ways. The Aztec, Olmec, Maya, Chacoan and Mississippian cultures were all corn-centric empires. To this very day Americans consume more corn than any other staple grain. The United States is also a corn-fed empire, just like the pre-1492 empires were. 

Mexican food is delicious in part because it is the creative recombination of several rich and diverse food cultures. Mexican food is amazing because it blends ancient traditions of Native Americans, European and Middle Eastern  cuisine into one amazing, tortilla wrapped package. So the next time you come across a Giant Ground Sloth in a museum, thank it for guacamole!


Mexican food in general has some of the best Wheat and Soy free options out there

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