In November we celebrate in Mexico the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution: One hundred years after our independence from Spain and in spite of the progress made during the Administration of President Porfirio Díaz, the Mexican people still lived in poverty and the government favored selected groups, different groups of people fought for a better government for Mexico. The revolution attempted to give a new life to the indigenous, the farmer, the rancher, the workers and the lower middle classes.
During that period of history there were so many social changes in all areas of the daily life, including the gastronomy. The strong influence of the French cuisine, that took place during the presidency of President Díaz, was left apart and the traditional Mexican Cuisine and its roots, based on the use of corn, beans and chili was uplifted. This is how our cuisine helped in building our nation and our Mexican identity.
During the war, the movement of the troops, food shortages and lack of ingredients caused mayor changes in the diet of Mexicans, though a new and improvised cuisine was born. In this process the “Adelitas”, which were heroic women who accompanied the troops and as them fought the enemy but also prepared the food, took care of the sick and healed the wounded and had many other functions, were fundamental.
These women carried with them species, pots, griddles, grinding stones (metates) and other tools. Improvising their kitchens in the military camps, and from there came the dishes that fed the soldiers.
The typical Mexican snacks “antojitos" made from corn were the most popular prepared dishes by them, also new dishes were invented like the “discadas” a combination of meats, bacon, ham, pork sausage, onion, peppers and tomato, cooked on the disk of a plow and served with fresh made tortillas.
When the crops were bad, they fished trouts and cooked them wrapped in avocado, corn or banana leaves. In the coastal zones fishes like sea bass, red snapper and tilapia were consumed as they were available for everybody. On the lake areas they adopted new ingredients, like, grasshoppers, jumiles that are a very nutritious insects, frogs, salamanders and chubs.
The victories of the army were celebrated with dishes such as mole, wedding roast, barbecue, tacos, beans, and many others, all of them splashed with improvisation and scarcity.
In some cases, when the revolutionary forces won some battles, pieces of land were allocated to the soldiers, there they planted the traditional “milpas”, a corn field where also grew beans, squash, squash blossom, peppers, epazote and quelites.
Of the most popular dishes during the Revolution were:
Mexican red rice
Boiled beans (frijoles de la olla)
Green enchiladas, stuffed with beans or vegetables.
In the north of Mexico burritos stuffed with beans and rice
Quesadillas (stuffed with squash blossom, cactus, asadero cheese, etc)
Dobladitas of green pipian, potatoes and chorizo, adobo.
Gorditas stuffed with pork rinds, green sauce, onion and cheese.
Typical mexican sweets
The famous revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata, enjoyed “atoles” ( a hot drink made from corn in a staggering variety of flavors) prepared in a copper pot made with plum or sweet corn with milk and cinnamon, sweetened with brown sugar; black coffee, a casserole named white sopup with hot sauces ; tacos of asada and longaniza (steak and a condiment sausage), tomato sauce with guajes and jumiles, beans (frijoles de la olla) tossed with cheese and tortillas.
We haven’t stopped to consume these dishes, as a fact they are already part of our culinary culture, so we can assure that the Mexican Revolution contributed to enrich our beloved Mexican cuisine.
The Mexican Revolution brought the knowledge of the different dishes that were made throughout the country, allowing that those dishes to spread through the Mexican territory. This made possible that today we have a magical panorama of flavors, smells and colors through its long and varied range of ingredients that shapes the Mexican Cuisine in a fusion of the past that is strengthened by the mixture of other cultures.