The Yucatan mindset means that they both resisted the Spanish with all of their might, but welcomed traders from all corners of the world. This mindset created the cuisine in it’s region’s culture, and it is so intertwined with the Mayan’s that those roots still hold strong today. But at the same time, they have some of the widest reaching roots. They have strong ties with the Caribbean of course, but as well even traditional friendships and were trading partners with countries from Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The earliest bonds are tied to the Dutch and the Lebanese. This openness also led to enough flexibility to allow Spanish influences to be absorbed in some cultural aspects. We want to allow you, the reader, to have an image in your mind of how the tapestry of influences created the recipes used today. These will include some basic dishes, some dessert recipes, some elaborate dinner dishes and more including ingredients.
Many of the ingredients and dishes that were in use were there prior to the arrival of the Spanish. This includes corn, chile, beans, squash, tomatoes and wild game (turkey and similar). But the Spanish introduced them to chicken, pork, beef, and the products related to them in an attempt to get them to modify their cuisine to be the same as it was back home. But instead, they actually used them in conjunction with their existing recipes to make some awesome dishes. Tortillas are still made from the corn that was always there, and many dishes that are still around today. A classic dish that we serve and is easy to prepare is a Shrimp and Egg omelet. The Spanish introduced the chicken eggs, and the natives used locally fished shrimp.
Most tortillas are made with corn here, because that was already a staple crop. Most flour did not come about in use until later on. This is why many Mexican restaurants continue to serve corn chips and corn tortillas. Ceviche is also commonly served there. Ceviche means that it was cooked in lime, providing it a taste that can only happen when something is seeped in citrus and allowed to cook it. They are also long-time aficionados of tamarind candy, and it is used on all different types of dishes. They also have long used honey, as it’s natural sugars are far more common in that area and easier to harvest, relative to the long trips required for reaching sugarcane producing regions. That candy is essentially the perfect mixture of spices, which they have a long history of using. Achiote is spicy, peppery and gives food a red color. Recado and chirmole (similar to habanero) is used on chicken and pork dishes, and less commonly fish. Oysters are commonly prepared, along with snails and shrimp, sometimes using coconut.
The Yucatan is but one patch on the tapestry of Mexican cuisine, and is one of the pieces of the puzzle to understanding, enjoying and creating the best food experiences possible.