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Hispanic History Month and Foodways Series: Colonial Mexico

Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions, recipe below

In colonial Mexico City indigenous women gradually shaped the cookery and preferences of Iberian owned homes and eateries. This happened despite the attempt of Iberian born wives to teach their Indian cooks how to prepare meals according to Spanish culinary styles. In Mexico City the women servants who cooked for elite families slipped local ingredients like tomatoes into Spanish recipes believing no one would notice any difference in taste. However, Spanish women realized the change but also recognized that it “turned out much cheaper [and easier] to feed everyone” in a large household on meals made with available and less expensive local ingredients than scarce and expensive imported ones from Spain. In short, the culinary and economic savvy of Indigenous women, some free and some enslaved, resulted in the transformation that occurred in the diet of new arrivals from Europe. Here is a traditional Mexican recipe that is illustrative of the influence of indigenous women on Mexican cuisine.

Nopalitos with tomatoes and onions recipe:

Care Packages and Confederate Soldiers During The Civil War

The Southern Food Invasion in NYC Restaurants