Adrian Baumann
East Whittier Middle School

Food and other aspects of the Aztec culture

The Aztecs' main food was corn. The corn was generally ground into flour and then made into masa or dough, which they made into tortillas, drinks, tamales, among other foods. Other foods in the Aztecs' diet were the seeds from the sage plant which were used as cereal; spicy peppers, eggs, turkey, rabbit, dog, lizards, locusts, snails, fish eggs, and as a delicacy, green slime which was scooped off the top of lake Texcoco. That was said to taste like cheese. For drink the Aztecs usually drank water and on special occasions they drank beer and nobles drank chocolate sweetened with honey. Foods today in Mexico have some basic components of the Aztec fare such as corn, which is still at the heart of the meal.

That is, today corn products are still widely eaten. This can be seen in the tortilla, a round flat sheet of corn that you find in almost every meal in a present day Mexican table; or the tamale, a lump of corn masa containing meat, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed. Both are Aztec foods. Hence, the blend of the Aztec and Spanish cultures can be seen very clearly in food. For instance, it is a common rural Mexican tradition to make tamales, an Aztec food for Christmas, a Catholic holiday. Another example is the fact that tamales are often filled with beef, a product unknown to the Aztecs until the arrival of the Spanish. Even the method in which the meals were prepared: the corn is ground on a metate, made into masa, which is rolled into a ball and flattened, then placed on a comal cooking sheet and cooked, is still being practiced in remote country locations. In the city people eat much as they do here in the United States.


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