New Mexican Cuisine - History

History

Before the arrival of Europeans, New Mexico's current borders overlapped the areas of the Navajo, Mescalero, and Chiricahua tribes. The Spaniards brought their cuisine which mingled with the indigenous. At the end of the Mexican-American War, New Mexico became part of the United States, and was strongly influenced by incoming American tastes.

This distinct history—combined with the local terrain and climate—has resulted in significant differences between the cuisine of New Mexico and somewhat similar styles in California, Arizona, and Texas.

New Mexico's population includes Native Americans who have been on the land thousands of years. Many residents in the north and the capital, Santa Fe, are descended from Spanish noblemen and explorers who came in the 1500s. Mexicans arrived later. "Anglos" and African Americans traded and settled after the Civil War. Most recently, Asian and Indochinese immigrants have discovered New Mexico.

When New Mexicans refer to chile they are talking about pungent pods, or sauce made from those pods, not the concotion of spices, meat and/or beans known as Texas chili con carne. While chile, the pod, is sometimes spelled chili, chilli, or chillie elsewhere, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico made this state's spelling official by entering it into the Congressional Record.

Read more about this topic:  New Mexican Cuisine

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