Native Americans Settlers adopted the triumvirate of corn, beans and squash Spanish Mexicans. History. Influences on the Cuisine. American Southwestern Cuisine Southwestern Native Americans. The Four Corners area is the cradle of Southwestern Native American civilization.
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Native Americans Settlers adopted the triumvirate of corn, beans and squash Spanish Mexicans History Influences on the Cuisine
American Southwestern CuisineSouthwestern Native Americans The Four Corners area is the cradle of Southwestern Native American civilization. This area has been inhabited for more than 6,000 years; archaeological evidence reveals great civilizations that flourished and then disappeared.
Ancient Pueblo Peoples • The present-day Four Corners area of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northeaster Arizona, northern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. • These cultures are referred to as the Pueblo Peoples. • The word Pueblo originated with the Spanish explorers.
Ancient Pueblo Peoples • One of these groups are referred to as the Anasazi. • This reference is now being Questioned. • The Navajo people, who arrived to the area around 1400, and who now reside in parts of the former Pueblo territory, referred to the ancient people as Anaasází, meaning “ancestors of our enemy’s”.
Built and lived in villages of adobe huts Planted gardens Developed methods for irrigating crops Planted seven different varieties of corn Ancient Pueblo Peoples
American Southwestern CuisineThe Pueblo Tribes Ancestors of the ancient Southwestern civilizations are called pueblo tribes because they built pueblos, permanent fortified villages made of adobe, or clay bricks.
American Southwestern CuisineThe Birth of Corn Culture Ancestors of the Pueblo tribes learned corn cultivation and cooking from ancient Meso-Americans, early civilizations of what is now central and southern Mexico. From the Southwest, corn culture eventually spread to south central and eastern tribes.
American Southwestern CuisineDesert Agriculture Pueblo tribes developed unique dryland agricultural methods: irrigation deep planting companion planting terracing (below)
American Southwestern CuisineThree Sisters Crops • many varieties of corn yellow white red blue (sacred) • squashes and pumpkins • heirloom beans (left) Anasazi tepary pink pinto Appaloosa red
American Southwestern CuisineThe Corn–Bean Protein Synergy • Meat contains all 9 essential amino acids, which is needed to sustain human life. • Because their diets included very little animal protein, pueblo tribes heavily relied on the corn–bean protein synergy. • Traditional alkaline processing of corn makes available certain proteins that combine with proteins found in legumes, creating a protein source nearly as valuable as the proteins found in meat. • Before technology it would have been almost impossible to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Two Ways to Alkalize Corn NATIVE AMERICAN Alkalai: lye (sodium hydroxide) derived from plant ashes Hominy: whole corn kernels boiled in lye water to remove hulls, soften, and add nutrients Corn Dough: fine-ground dried whole corn is mixed with alkalized water MESO-AMERICAN/MEXICAN Alkalai: cal (calcium hydroxide) mined from natural volcanic deposits Posole: whole corn kernels nixtamalized, or boiled in calcium hydroxide water, to remove hulls, soften, and add nutrients Masa: corn dough made by grinding nixtamalized corn kernels
American Southwestern CuisinePre-contact Pueblo Cooking Before European contact, Pueblo tribes had developed a sophisticated cuisine with a limited ingredients palette but with superior cooking and grinding technology. • advanced grinding equipment: flatbreads, or tortillas, made from fine-ground corn and alkalized water • alkalization using wood ash • superior clay vessels for simmering soups and stews, cooling water, and storing ingredients • air-dried foods
American Southwestern CuisineChiles Chiles are the fruit of the capsicum plant known for their hot-spicy flavor. Chiles added important vitamins and flavor to the pueblo tribes’ bland diet of starchy foods. Chiles are a signature flavor of Mexican Border cuisine.
American Southwestern CuisineNavajos and Apaches • Hunter-gatherer Navajos and Apaches entered the region around 1400. • Acquisition of Spanish horses and sheep transformed Navajos into herders. Apaches remained hunters. • Both groups interacted with pueblo tribes and absorbed some of their food culture.
American Southwest Cuisine Southern Texas New Mexico Arizona Southern Utah Southern Colorado Hispanic California
Share a border with Mexico Share flavors of chili peppers and cumin Lack of water posed a major problem Valleys around Rio Grande River provided fertile farmland Topography and Climate (Southwest Cuisine)
Topography and Climate Much of the American Southwest is high desert, dry land at an elevation of more than 4,000 ft. • soil is thin, vegetation sparse • annual precipitation less than 13 inches • few indigenous animals
Topography and Climate • The Southwest is dry because of its location within the Rain Shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which blocks westerly moist air form the Pacific. • As a result: • Less than 13 inches of rainfall • Thin soil • Limited animal life
American Southwestern Cuisine INDIGENOUS FOOD PLANTS acorns sunflower roots and seeds pine nuts chokecherry mesquite beans cattail dock purslane tumbleweed cactus and cactus-like plants INDIGENOUS FOOD ANIMALS jackrabbits squirrels pig-like peccaries mule deer snakes armadillos lizards
Mexican foods Tortillas, wheat, chili peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, avocados, squash, potatoes, cinnamon, and chocolate Foods from Spain Olives, garlic, rice, lamb, pork, chorizo, peaches, apricots, citrus fruits, and grapes for making wine Spanish Introduced
Braise Boil Fry Grill Bake inhornos(dome-shaped ovens made of stone and adobe) Cooking Methods
Dry foods in the sun Soups and stews used many dried food items Escabeche - pickling foods in an acid mixture Food usually fried before pickled Preservation Techniques
Corn in numerous forms Many types of beans A variety of squashes Chili peppers Characteristics of the Cuisine Four major foods dominate
American Southwestern CuisineNew Mexico Cuisine Traditional New Mexico cuisine reflects the clarity and austerity of the Southwestern desert. Through its history, the cuisine has changed very little. Traditional New Mexican cookery exhibits heavy influence from the Native American and Spanish. . • limited ingredients and few seasonings • equally favors wheat flour tortillas (bread and tacos) and corn tortillas (enchiladas, chips) • chile verde (green chile sauce) • chile rojo (red chile sauce) • “Christmas-style” (half red, half green) • beef dishes • smoked and grilled foods • flan and sopaipillas
American Southwest Cuisine • Arizona • Less impact from Mexican and Spanish cookery • Fewer chilies
American Southwestern CuisineTexas Cuisine Texas cuisine began on Spanish ranches in the 1700s where beef was the meat of choice. Ranchers ate tender cuts grilled over mesquite coals, whereas cowboys ate tough cuts in stews and tenderized by cooking and marinating. Mexican ingredients, techniques, and flavor preferences combined with Ranchlands cuisines. Little Native American influence. • flour tortillas • fresh and cooked salsas • fajitas (means “little belts”): marinated skirt steak grilled and served in tacos • chili made from diced beef and chili powder (no tomatoes!) • cheese dishes and toppings: chile con queso is melted cheese with green chile
Texas North Influence from the Plains East Strong impact from Louisiana Typical Southern, Cajun, and/or Creole cooking Gumbos, okra, rice dishes, biscuits, and crawfish Regions
Texas SouthSouth Texas Barbacoa Borders Mexico Chili peppers, tortillas, and salsa West Resembles cookery of New Mexico Prominent Native American overtones Extensive use of chilies Regions
Popular Dishes Chili Con Carne- meat chili, originated in the border towns of Texas in the early 1800s. At that time, the dish consisted of lots of chili peppers and any available meat – pork, beef, or lamb. This dish extended small amounts of meat. Posole- stew containing hominy, pork, and chili peppers. Comes in countless variations.
One Region, Three Styles American Southwestern Cuisine Ablend of Southwestern Native American, colonial Mexican (Spanish), and pioneer Ranchlands cuisines Mexican-American Cuisine Traditional Mexican cuisine modified with American ingredients and technology Contemporary Mexican Border Cuisine Achef-driven Southwestern cuisine expanded with Mexican ingredients and world cuisines techniques
American Southwestern CuisineSpanish/Mexican Colonial Cuisine THE MISSIONS • The Spanish government of Mexico and the Catholic Church founded missions throughout the Southwest. • Mission cooks blended Mexican colonial cuisine (itself a hybrid) with Southwestern Native American cuisine, creating American Southwestern cuisine.
American Southwestern CuisineSouthwestern Cuisine • Three Sisters Crops • hogs and chickens • lard made corn dough products more pliable, tastier • lard made fried foods possible • crisp tacos, tostadas, chips • later, beef became meat of choice • slow-simmered beans • refried beans • wheat flour tortillas • chiles • a limited seasonings palette: pepper cumin cinnamon wild sage
American Southwestern CuisineNew Mexico Chiles LONG GREEN CHILE • tender, meaty flesh • thick, fibrous skin is always removed by flame-roasting and peeling • diced or julienned as a flavorful garnish or ingredient; puréed for sauce DRIED RED CHILE • green chile ripens red and is then dried • reconstituted and puréed for sauce • or ground into pure chile powder
American Southwestern CuisineNew Mexico Chiles During the August–September green chile harvest season, roadside stands offer complimentary roasting. Chile lovers peel, clean, and freeze green chile to use year-round.
American Southwestern CuisineFlour Tortillas When the American plains and northern Mexico began large-scale wheat production, Southwestern cooks adopted the flour tortilla as the preferred table bread and for making tacos.
Mexican-American Cuisine Through the 1800s much of the previously Spanish Mexican border area saw a large influx of Anglo settlers, and by 1845 the entire area belonged to the United States. Settlers brought American ingredients and cooking methods. However, through the 20th century large numbers of Mexicans immigrated into the area, many from central Mexico. Using newly-available convenience foods, Mexican-American immigrants created a new hybrid cuisine that is simpler and less expensive than traditional Mexican cooking.
Mexican-American Cuisine This hybrid cuisine modifies traditional Mexican cuisine with American-made convenience foods. TORTILLAS Industrially-produced tortilla products: • corn tortillas • flour tortillas • crispy (hard) taco shells • tostada shells • tortilla chips FILLINGS • ground beef replaces cooked shredded meats SALSAS • cooked, bottled salsas replace fresh-made salsas • traditional cooked sauces are available canned • pasteurized process cheeses replace natural cheeses SEASONINGS • taco seasoning, chili powder, and other pre-made blends replace individually prepared seasonings
Contemporary Mexican Border Cuisine In the 1980s a surge of growth and interest in the American Southwest attracted young, talented chefs to the area. They presented traditional Southewestern dishes elevated by classic and modern French techniques and presentations.
Contemporary Mexican Border Cuisine Soon this chef-driven cuisine expanded to include Mexican ingredients, Native American ingredients and methods, and world cuisines influences. • food stacked high on the plate • plate painting with desert colors • sophisticated sauces combining Mexican ingredients and French-style reductions • smoked foods • tropical fruits