Influence of Mexican Cuisine – San Francisco Bay Area

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Food if one of the aesthetic identification of culture and tradition as it marks its progress from generation to generation, and history to history. Mexican cooking began with the arrival of humans in Mexico and as various cultures influence their cuisine, the tradition and cultural background of their menu have began to evolve.

Mexican food, as we know it today, has had its primary origin in the 16th century from the introduction of European plants and food products by Spanish conquerors. This traditional mix-up has provided modification in their cuisine, which is currently evident in the Mexican food tradition.Mexican food has been a popular choice in the menus most especially to Mexican restaurants in San Francisco California Bay. The primary influence of wine and food itself in the Mexican culture has established exceptional uniqueness in the field of dining experience.

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The installation of various Mexican restaurants that offer traditional Mexican specialties has kept the survival of the culture.In the course of our discussion, the Mexican culture, evidently in terms of food- wine and restaurants, shall be the primary focus of the study. The involvements of wine and food as the primary traditional influence shall be elaborated and defined in the study. The influence of food and herbs in Mexican traditions shall be also tackled in the course of discussion.

Lastly, we shall explore the San Francisco California Boy for exquisite and famous Mexican restaurants that are still reigning in the current time.  The Mexican culture possesses a heritage in every unique aspect that greatly denounces its aesthetic value.Mexican Culture: The Basics of Mexican FoodMexican diet in the sixteenth century and can still be observed in the Mexican food tradition today can be reduced to six major items particularly wheat, meat and its derivatives, such as milk, cheese, and eggs; sugar, citrus fruits; new vegetables, such as onions and garlic; and the herbs parsley and coriander. These are the main ingredients found in the Mexican food list of ingredients.

The Mexican cuisines are primarily influenced by Spanish and European orientations that greatly altered the essence and style of food preparation and aesthetic value (Vargas, 2005 p.66).Mexican cooks make a daily trip to an outdoor market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Homes in rural areas of Mexico often have no refrigeration; hence, food cannot be store for very long.

Even if storage is possible, many Mexican cooks believe that food tastes best when it is prepared fresh every day. In parts of United States with large Mexican American populations, there are stores that sell special ingredients such as dried chiles and Mexican chocolates (Coronado, 2002 p.17). Mexican food has become fashionable not only internationally but in Mexico City as well, which evidently can be measured by the great number of good restaurants specializing in Mexican food that have opened their doors in recent years.

This interest in fine Mexican food is relatively recent in restaurant circles and can be traced to some 25 years ago (Vargas, 2005 p.113).Among the usual or typical meals of these Mexicans are tortillas, hot chiles, tacos, and burritos, while their usual staple food are corn combined with beans, squash, chile peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos to form the basic diet of the  country (Coronado, 2002 p.17; Koeller & La France, 2005 p. 222; Vargas, 2005 p.83).

Secondary foods, which are eaten less frequently but are consumed throughout the country, are represented by native vegetables such as cactus paddles (nopales); avocados (aguacates); vegetable pears (chayotes); jicamas; and greens known as quintoniles, verdolagas, or quelites. Peripheral foods may include seasonal crops and exotics such as insects, mushrooms, chokecherries, the fruits of the prickly pear (tunas), and small cactus fruits known as biznagas.

These foods are produced during the rainy season and are vastly collected by the rural folks (Vargas, 2005 p.83).Tortillas and hot chile sauces accompany meals throughout Mexico in all social levels. These two elements can be considered a common food denominator among social classes.

The pungency sauces are critically affected upon the type and amount of chile utilized, based upon regional or own preferences. Small plates of salt and cut limes are common table condiments (Vargas, 2005 p.83).Traditional Mexican FoodSopas, as the second course in any well-oriented Mexican lunch or dinner is a soup which is generally the common denominator of almost every culture.

Mexican broths are called caldo, but a liquid soup with meat, vegetables or seafood is also called caldo. Clear, strained broth is bouillon or consome, and chilled vegetavle soup is gazpacho. Herbs, such as coriander and oregano, are frequently added to the ingredients of these soups in order to provide delicate and unique aroma. Mexican cooks go heavy on pork fat, and it is this lard that frequently leads to stomach upset among tourists rather than the food itself.

Mexican food, aside from the beans, are usually light (Booth, 1996 p.14). Some examples of the typical soup of the Mexicans are Albondigas or the meat ball soup, and Sopa de Arroz or the rice soup, which are the most popular dishes of Mexicans that have been adapted by various cultures, particularly Asian (e.g. Filipinos, Thais, etc.) (Coronado, 2002 p.17; Booth, 1996 p.14).

Mexico is a land suited to stock and has become the general good, and with government encouragement and supervision, the quality is upgrading constantly. Mexican methods of grilling, spitting, frying, boiling, roasting, stewing and baking meats are similar to ours, but there are still variations. The Mexican cook is great hand to boil pork, and anything baked in the oven, al borno, is uncovered. An asado or roast, is similar to the common pot roast, which is cooked in cazuela on top of the stove (Booth, 1996 p. 14). However, vegetables and greens are seldom cooked with meat except in soup dishes (Coronado, 2002 p.17; Booth, 1996 p.14).

Another common and popular Mexican tradition is barbecue or barbacoa, which is a stroke of genius that comes from pre-conquest days and is almost identical with luau in Hawaii. In order to prepare this traditional viand, large pit is dug and lined with lime stone or volcanic rock, and a blazing fire is maintained for five or six hours until the stones are almost red hot. The fire is allowed to die down, then the pit is partially filled with maguey stalks. A dressed goat, pig, sheep or part of beef wrapped in leaves is laid on top.

The pit is covered, and the meat cooks in the aromatic steam of the maguey juice (Booth, 1996 p.14).Spiciness: Mexican Unique FlavorThe basic feature of Mexican foods is its unique way of expressing its spiciness and traditional aroma. One of the spices that provide therapeutic effects in the body is the Capsaicin, which is a primary constituent of peppers such as the jalapeño and the habañero.

Capsaicin has several uses, including use in personal defense sprays and as to relieve arthritis pain. When first applied to skin, capsaicin causes local heating and irritation. However, after repeated use, the area becomes desensitized to pain without loss of the sense of touch (Fox & Whitesell, 1997 p.550).

Capsaicin pepper has been found to work as an anticoagulant, thus possibly helping to prevent heart attacks or strokes caused by the formation of clots in blood vessels. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which is the body’s natural painkillers, and kills the stomach bacterium known to cause ulcers. Another pepper is the Cayene, which is an important constituent of Mexican hot sauce. Cayene adds the spicy zip to many ethnic foods, such as Thai and Mexican food, and can be used in marinades and barbecue sauces.

This pepper is rich in vitamin C, A, B-complex, E and other minerals (Balch, p.147 2003).Another food ingredient of Mexican foods that possesses therapeutic aid is the pumpkin seeds. The seeds from the pumpkin, also known as pepitas, are popular ingredient in Mexican dishes, and are available with or without their shells (Gilbert, 2000 p. 178).

Mexican cuisine is dynamic enough by itself. Its source is in simple, no-frills food from a vast number of climates (deserts, mountains, rainforests, and temperate coastlines), and it honors the traditions of native Americans and Europeans, primarily Spanish. Nevertheless, Mexican cuisines ranks as one of the world’s most complicated and varied cuisines, especially if one bases such assessments on the variety and refinements of sauces.

With hundreds of salsas and moles, Mexican cuisine can strike as many chords as French or Chinese (Stuart, 2000 p. 15).The Wines: Mexican BreweryIn terms of Mexican wine, it provides unique blends of tradition served in stemmed glasses. Wine is the usual pair of Mexican foods in order to suit the spiciness of the dishes.

Mexican wine classifications possess the usual red and white wine, which are primarily obtained from fruits mixed with spices. The northern end of Baja California is one of the places in Mexico that is known to brew wine at its best (Dumois, n.d). Citizens of Mazahua and Otoml living in Central Mexico drink pulque from childhood, because of both its nutritional properties and scarcity of water. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage obtained from maguey, which composes primarily of complex fruit sugars (Peele & Grant, 1999 p.93).

Mexican cuisine is based on fresh, and seasonal produce, which primarily provide distinct character to their menus. Chefs love to create dishes full of color and texture and typically present their plates in a simple fashion. Common culinary practices vary from state to state within Mexico. As you encounter restaurants outside the borders of Mexico, both authentic and derivative styles of Mexican cuisine maintain similar ingredients, while potentially incorporating different methods of preparation (Koeller & La France, 2005 p.222).

The most common form of food preparation in Mexican setting, especially during the time of Spanish era, was cooking the food directly over an open fire. As the technological advancement in cooking progressed, Mexicans developed a method of transmitting heat through another utensil, such as a griddle or pot. In this way, they could toast seeds, nuts, and vegetables or boil food in skins, tightly woven baskets, or clay pots heated the water enough to cook the food. Boiling food allowed them to take advantage of certain vegetables that could not be eaten raw, such as the extremely spicy serranos, although some Mexicans are able to eat this raw. Other raw vegetables contain poisonous substances that are removed through cooking; others are too tough to chew in the raw stage (Koeller & La France, 2005 p. 222; Vargas, 2005 p.66).

Mexican diet of today is rich in a variety of foods and dishes that represent a blend of pre-Columbian, Spanish, French, and more recently, American culture. The typical Mexican diet is rich in complex carbohydrates, provided mainly by corn and corn products, beans, rice, and breads, The typical Mexican diet contains an adequate amount of protein in the forms of beans, eggs, fish and shellfish, and a variety of meats, including beef, pork, poultry, and goat. Because of the extensive use of frying as a cooking method, the Mexican diet is also high in fat.

The nutrients most likely to be inadequately provided are calcium, iron, vitamin A, folic acid and vitamin C (Spark, 2007 p.258).Dried beans feature prominently in the Mexican diet, which is served in many ways and incorporated into many dishes. They absorb and blend together with spicy flavorings, as well as adding nutritional value.

The Mexican culture has evolved from the most primitive means of grilling to th modernistic styles of food preparation; however, they are still able to maintain the touch of tradition, which has been adapted by various cultural diversities. The unique characteristics of Mexican cuisine, specifically the spiciness and the unique flavoring, have brought extraordinary tastes that are internationally recognized.


  1. Balch, P. A. (2003). Prescription for Dietary Wellness. Avery.
  2. Barrett, C. (1991). The Book of Mexican Foods. HPBooks.
  3. Booth, G. C. (1996). The Food and Drink of Mexico.
  4. Courier Dover Publishing.Coronado, R. (2002). Cooking the Mexican Way: Revised and Expanded to Include New Low-Fat Diet.


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