Mexican Cuisine’s African Roots

As a great deal of the historical information was cut from my new book due to lack of space, I was recently asked to include some of the background on Africa’s influence on the Mexican cuisine for the University of California Press blog and though I would share it and some of the photos taken by Nacho Urquiza of an African family on Oaxaca’s Costa Chica.

Antonieta Avila Salinas's Costa Chica Family

Antonieta Avila Salinas’s Costa Chica Family
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

African Influence on Mexican Cuisine
by Marilyn Tausend

I have been traveling throughout Mexico exploring the incredibly multi-cultured cuisine of its people for the last three decades. It was, though, only since researching the history of the African presence in Mexico for my newest cookbook, La Cocina Mexicana: Many Cultures, One Cuisine, did I realize that during the many years I’ve been coming to the tree-shrouded small village of La Antigua in Veracruz, that I had often stood right in front of Mexico’s first slave market, now the site of the local school. During the seventy-five years or so after Cortés moved his small contingent of Spanish troops and other followers south in 1525 from Quiahuiztlan to this safer harbor, thousands of Africans were put on the block to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. I since have visited many places in Veracruz where these slaves were relocated, some still retaining African names such as the nearby popular resort of Mocambo which means “sorrow” in the Congo dialect.[

Some African slaves also accompanied their Spanish owners during the exploration of New Spain with apparently the first African to set foot in these new lands being on Columbus’s second expedition. Twenty years later, the first black slaves in Mexico arrived with Hernan Cortés from the West Indies.

Read the rest of the article here.

Costa Chica Fishing by Nacho Urquiza

Costa Chica Fishing
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

Barbacoa de Pescado by Nacho Urquiza

Barbacoa de Pescado (recipe page 167-168)
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

Caldo de Tichnidas, Costa Chica

Antonieta making Caldo de Tichnidas
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

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One thought on “Mexican Cuisine’s African Roots

  1. Pingback: Mexican Cuisine's African Roots | Culinary Adventures, Inc. | Continental Food Recipes

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