BREAKS COOKING : MEXICO
. . food is probably the most important element of Mexican
is a country of paradoxes. It produces more corn than India,
more beer than Australia, more steel than Sweden, more glass
than Austria and more oil than the United Arab Emirates. It
has more millionaires than Germany, yet half its population
is supported by traditional low technology industry and agriculture!
nearly half of the country being over five thousand feet above
sea level its geography plays a major part in its regional
variations in weather. Most of the country is exceptionally
dry, particularly in the northern regions and the Baja Peninsula.
Southern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula experience pronounced
rainfall. As most of Mexico lies south of the Tropic of Cancer
it has two weather seasons - rainy and dry. Generally, rainfall
and temperatures rise from June through October, leaving November
to May as the more temperate and drier season.
remains a nation where the past plays a prominent role in
shaping the nation's present day development. Discovered by
the Spanish in 1519, Mexico was home to an estimated ten million
native inhabitants living in feudal but highly disciplined
and organised societies. These people became the foundation
upon which the Spanish conquerors built their colonial empire.
Even today, Mexico is rich in ethnic diversity, with nearly
fifteen million of the population being pureblooded Native
Americans, speaking nearly fifty languages.
culture is a fascinating blend of Native American traditions
and Spanish colonial influences. Long before the Spaniards
arrived in the Sixteenth century, the indigenous civilisations
of Mexico had developed arts such as ceramics, music, poetry,
sculpture and weaving. After the conquest, the intricate designs
and bright colors of many Native American arts were often
mixed with European techniques and religious themes to create
a hybrid and uniquely Mexican artistic style.
Mexico and Central America were home to some of the earliest
and most advanced civilisations in the western hemisphere.
With names such as Teotihuacans, Toltecs, Mayans, Zapotec,
Mixtec and Aztecs this country brings to mind many of the
world's famed early civilisation and even today there are
many historical sites which bear testimony to the scale and
achievements of these ancient civilisations.
is probably the most important element of Mexican culture.
This is a country which has given the world many of its favourite
dishes and ingredients such as salsas, tortillas, tacos, Chile
con Carne. Its cuisine is varied and full of flavour with
beans, chilis and flour made from corn playing a big part
in the Mexican style of cooking. When the Spanish arrived
in Mexico they liked what they saw in the local food and added
a few ingredients of their own, such as domestic animals,
sugar and cheese. Mexican cuisine is further enhanced by an
incredible array of fruits and vegetables which seem to taste
better in Mexico than anywhere else . . . tomatoes, squash,
sweet potatoes, avocado, coconut, pineapple, papaya and prickly
pear cactus, to name just a few. Herbs and spices like cinnamon,
clove, anise and cumin are an important part of the culinary
flavours, whilst cilantro (or coriander), thyme, marjoram
and the pungent tasting native herb known as epazote are also
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including trips to Oaxaca in Mexico, Mexican Colonial
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Spanish culture. Groups tour together while personally
guided by Jane Butel.
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cooking vacation with The International Kitchen
means wonderful accommodations and hands-on cooking
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