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Tracing Mexican Cuisine Back To The Aztecs

Photo caption:

Photo by britxton/flickr

A plate of pollo con mole poblano in an undated photo.

Tracing Mexican Cuisine Back To The Aztecs


Linda Civitello, author, "Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People"

Mole poblano, chiles rellenos and carnitas may be classic Mexican dishes, but they bear little resemblance to what the Aztecs ate before the invasion of Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago. Pork, cheese and spices like cinnamon all came from Europe, Africa and Asia.

Food historian Linda Civitello will be talking about Mexican food and its roots in Aztec culture Saturday morning at the Central Library, as part of an ongoing discussion series by the group, Culinary Historians of San Diego.

Civitello said while dishes like mole are really a fusion food, some quintessential Aztec meals survive largely unchanged today. The Aztecs made dozens of varieties of tamales for religious ceremonies, but the core recipe is the same.

"Some things don’t change because they’re perfect as they are," said Civitello, who wrote "Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People."

Civitello joined KPBS Midday Edition Thursday to discuss how quickly food culture can change.

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