The epitome of misconception and ignorance with Mexican culture lies within the preconceived ideas of what Mexican cuisine truly is. America provides us with chains like Taco Bell to give us a taste of what this culture can provide. But is Mexican food really tacos, burritos, and enchiladas? I’m here to tell you that is very incorrect. This paper discusses what true Mexican food is along the U.S.-Mexico border, the zenith of tourism of Mexican culture and cuisine.
The purpose of Mexican cuisine is not only to satisfy the taste buds of its consumer, but to also tell the story of the culture it was created in. Mexican culture and cuisine is derived from many roots, such as Spanish, French, Dutch, and Lebanese (Walker 665). There are minor differences between choices in ingredients of these meals over time, such as preferring a wheat tortilla to a corn one. All of the trial and error that it went through is what the final product that is presented today went through.
The history of how Mexican cuisine came to the popularity that it is today comes from street vendors called “chili queens” (Pilcher 448). These rowdy women accumulated the tourism that was dragged along the SouthWest of the U.S.-Mexico border and Northern Mexico to places such as Tijuana and Mexico City (Pilcher 450). With increases in tourism came increases in sanitary cleanup and overall restaurant improvement. Mexican restaurants can finally convey the message of their food and culture by means of restaurant setting and meal choices, and not have to worry about working conditions and sanitary issues. Mexican food brings peak tourism during holidays where the cuisine is consumed in high quantities. However, this high demand creates a burden for not only chefs, but for the females of the families as well (Pilcher 90).
The struggle of true Mexican food is the modernization and Americanization of the food culture. America had tainted the food by creating more efficient means of production, like pre-formed taco shells, and developing a generic menu for chains like Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Moe’s (Walker 662). Although these dishes are delectable and get the job done for the basic human need of hunger, the true flavor of Mexican food is lost, as well as the story that is conveyed by the spices and ingredients picked for this specific cuisine. The restaurants and dishes provided along the U.S.-Mexico border still tell the story of the culture through scenery and meals, and thus gives it the popularity it gets today.