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Assignment 2

The ingredients that are found within a certain Mexican Dish either make or break the overall meaning of the food. There are so many things that go into making a Mexican meal. Even the simplest of tacos have a long history behind it. Wars, suffering, breaking sweat- all those things have been done over decades that lead to the production of certain Mexican foods. 

In this assignment, I wanted to talk about a certain food that I had this semester that really stuck with me. I am talking about Pollo Oaxaca. Now, I may have had this food before, but not recently, and most certainly not to my recollection. So first, I am going to talk about my most recent experience with this dish. If you can remember from my previous post, I had this dish when I was at St Johns. It wasn’t prepared and displayed in the way I would think an authentic version of this meal would be, but nonetheless, it tasted fantastic. When I first tried it, I had no idea that way it would be this certain type of cheese. I thought that it was just some regular white sauce. The first time I took a bite, it tasted like regular chicken. It was not until I had a few more bites where the cheese really started to kick in. At that time, I knew that this dish was special, and that it was deserving of going on the Instagram page. That night, I did not know what cheese it was. So I went online, and typed in how I thought it tasted. I typed in things like Mexican mozzarella, or something with an earthy kind of taste. That is when the result for Oaxaca came up, and I immediately knew that cheese was the one I was thinking of. 


So, where does this dish come from? Let’s take a little look at oaxacan cuisine first. Pollo Oaxaca is similar to Pollo mole, as both dishes originated from Oaxaca. Let’s go back to the time of the Zapotecs which was the most prominent ethnic group in Oaxaca thousands of years ago. they invented this griddle like tool that they use for tortillas called the comal. So, the next time you have a plain tortilla, I think all the way back all those years ago. When we think of oaxacan cuisine, tortillas are a good start. The tortillas from Oaxaca are soft and white, and they are called blandas. The greatness about them is that that can be filled with any delectable topping (Crowley). 

Now, even though I will be taking about chicken and cheese when it comes to oaxacan cuisine, I would be remiss if I did not talk about mole. Oaxaca is often called the land of the seven moles. These moles include: Negro, Rojo, Coloradito, Amarillo, Verde, Chichilo, and Manchamantel. 

Now that I think of it, I was almost going to use this assignment to talk about my favorite Dish, Mole Poblano. but, ever since I tried the Oaxacan chicken this semester, I knew that this was the right one to talk about. 

Oaxaca is a land consisting of large mountains that connect to the Pacific ocean. Did you know that this Mexican state is home to 1/2 of Mexico’s indigenous people? (Crowley). The movement of the oaxacan people brought along the movement of their food too. It is amazing and intriguing to even think that the food that is on my plate labeled of oaxacan origin, has a thousand year history to it. it is so important to remember and understand the movement of the oaxacan people throughout Mexico in order to appreciate the food we eat today that comes from Oaxaca. Thank you, for a second, of the struggles of the Mexican people throughout centuries. Like I mentioned earlier, all of the effort through migration leads to what we eat and experience today. Before taking this class, the Mexican food that I would eat, was just food. I did not associate a history behind the food. after taking this class, I now realize the importance of understanding the history behind Mexican cuisine. Because, if there was no migration of Mexican people, we would not be lucky enough to experience and enjoy this food. At first, I didn’t understand it when people talked about understanding the history of their food. As a person of Irish origin, I know my history of food, but I do not think about the history of Irish immigrants and travelers whenever I have corned beef and cabbage.this class makes me realize that I should always pay attention to the history of my people’s food, and of every other people’s food that I encounter. The reason I stress this so much, is because the sacrifice made by indigenous people and immigrants of a certain food origin is too great to be under appreciated.

On to the actual migration of those who lead to the food we enjoy today, I did not realize that the migration took place from Guatemala. From there, migrants crossed the Suchiate river into the Mexican state of Chiapas (Ura). Then, they made their way into Oaxaca. And from there, it was history. The importance of this migration period includes the little bits and pieces certain Mexican foods adapted onto it along the way. This is where different ingredients made their way on to certain dishes. Here is where the cheese comes into the action. This cheese is also known as quesillo, and is sometimes mistakenly associated with other Mexican states or cities. Aside from the seven moles of Oaxaca, I believe that this cheese is the most important ingredient to the oaxacan people. The reason is because cheese is such an important staple to any food and every food imaginable. Almost everything can go with cheese, so to say that oaxacan cheese is not that important would be foolish. 

On to the actual migration of those who lead to the food we enjoy today, I did not realize that the migration took place from Guatemala. From there, migrants crossed the Suchiate river into the Mexican state of Chiapas (Ura). Then, they made their way into Oaxaca. And from there, it was history. The importance of this migration period includes the little bits and pieces certain Mexican foods adapted onto it along the way. This is where different ingredients made their way on to certain dishes. Here is where the cheese comes into the action. This cheese is also known as quesillo, and is sometimes mistakenly associated with other Mexican states or cities. Aside from the seven moles of Oaxaca, I believe that this cheese is the most important ingredient to the oaxacan people. The reason is because cheese is such an important staple to any food and every food imaginable. Almost everything can go with cheese, so to say that oaxacan cheese is not that important would be foolish. 

Now, I have shown the movement of this food through Mexico from Guatemala, but what about the United States? To no one’s surprise the number one state that comes to mind when speaking of this dish is Texas. I have talked about the importance and seriousness of the migration of Mexican people from Oaxaca oh, but there is a more serious and sinister aspect to it, just like the seriousness of life oh, it was not easy. People died, we’re hurt, and so on. This just adds to The reason of why oaxacan cuisine, along with other Mexican cuisine and dishes, should be appreciated, and how their struggle should be brought into the mainstream. If traveling the Suchiate River was hard enough, after miles and miles of traveling north, the next step who’s passing the Rio grande. It was a tough way to travel, maybe even tougher than the previous River. But why did these people travel in the first place? This is a question that Americans seem to struggle with today. It seems as if they may only understand if they walked a mile in the shoes of Mexican migrants. The simple answer is that they were escaping poverty, and the low way of living in order to find something better not only for them, but for their children, and their children after that. I am always reminded of this whenever I hear orsi things and people who talk down on legal immigration. Even illegal immigration , which is something that a wide range of Americans are against, has importance behind it.

Now, I have shown the movement of this food through Mexico from Guatemala, but what about the United States? To no one’s surprise the number one state that comes to mind when speaking of this dish is Texas. I have talked about the importance and seriousness of the migration of Mexican people from Oaxaca oh, but there is a more serious and sinister aspect to it, just like the seriousness of life oh, it was not easy. People died, we’re hurt, and so on. This just adds to The reason of why oaxacan cuisine, along with other Mexican cuisine and dishes, should be appreciated, and how their struggle should be brought into the mainstream. If traveling the Suchiate River was hard enough, after miles and miles of traveling north, the next step who’s passing the Rio grande. It was a tough way to travel, maybe even tougher than the previous River. But why did these people travel in the first place? This is a question that Americans seem to struggle with today. It seems as if they may only understand if they walked a mile in the shoes of Mexican migrants. The simple answer is that they were escaping poverty, and the low way of living in order to find something better not only for them, but for their children, and their children after that. I am always reminded of this whenever I hear about things and people who talk down on legal immigration. Even illegal immigration, which is something that a wide range of Americans are against, has importance behind it.

Just like ideals have you evolved over hundreds of years, even millions of years, the way that we prepare food is in its own right a form of evolution. It is part of our humanity. It is who we are. Food, and the making of food, is to be human. As I am writing this, I am realizing how important this class is to shed light on something that is not talked about enough. Maybe it is talked about enough, but not in the right way or in the right terms. Back to the aspect of food evolution, as humans adapt, food also adapts. The way food adapts is by ingredients being added or removed to certain cuisines. This happens over the course of many years, where a diaspora if people make their way from Central America into the United States. So, looking back on this class, thinking about the posts that we have made on Instagram, it is so important that we do that. It is so important that we put these things on social media for everyone to see. And obviously while not everyone is going to see it, the fact that it’s out there means that we are doing justice to Mexican food history. 

So, remember the history the next time you enjoy some Mexican food.

Sources:

Crowley, https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/introduction-oaxacan-mexican-cuisine.html

Ura, https://apps.texastribune.org/migrants/

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Published by ploftus99

I am a junior English major at St. John's University.

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