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Category: Mexico
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Mexican Dishes and their importance in traditional culture
In Mexico, food and traditional cuisine often get confused with the more Americanised style that is sometimes known as Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex. However, this country is rich with food traditions that make the cuisine unique and flavorful. Traditional Mexican cuisine is largely centered around staples such as corn, beans, meats, peppers, and spices. However, each region has its own unique twist on traditional Mexican cuisine. Northern Mexico may introduce foods such as goat, ostrich, chicken, while southern Mexico gets some of its more traditional dishes from the island influences around it, with a focus on fish and seafood for its traditional fare. However, Mexican holidays dictate some food traditions that are widely recognized and make each holiday a culinary celebration as well as a religious one.

Christmas is a time that offers up some unique traditional Mexican cuisine that is unique to this time of year. A three week long celebration with a focus on family, friends and of course food, this time of year brings out some delicious cuisine designed to bring people together around the table. Bacalao a la Vizcaina is a dish that is served on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve and made in mass quantities designed to invite people into your home whether they are friends, families or even strangers. This dish is a colorful masterpiece made with a salted codfish, potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, olives, and capers. The fish needs to soak for 4 to 5 days making this dish time intensive and used only for truly special occasions.

Another traditional dish to mark the end of the holiday season is Rosca de Reyes or king cake. This is essentially a fruit cake made in the shape of an oval with dried figs or cherries. Often times a small baby Jesus is put into the cake and whoever finds this must take it to a church on February 2nd. This cake represents Jesus escaping death as an infant and the person who finds the figurine is said to be blessed.

Another holiday that is steeped with traditional Mexican food, is Dia de los Muertos, or day of the dead, which celebrates and honors the passing of family members from this world into the next. Families celebrate by constructing alters in their homes, making masks, and decorating with flowers. Food is essential to this three day celebration and although commonly linked to Halloween this traditional Mexican holiday is very different. Food prepared on this day is essentially made to appease the spirits and families may have individual traditions. However, some common foods served include sugared skulls, Atole- a warm drink topped with fruit, and Pan de Muertos. Pan de Muertos is a bread that is sweet and coated with an orange glaze and sometimes sprinkled with sugar. The leftover bread is shaped into bone like configurations to make a sort of skeleton, and in some parts of Mexico other shapes may be used. Other treats consist of candied pumpkin slices and of course chocolate which is used in many of the warm drinks left on the alters and also comes in the form of chocolate coffins.
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