Mexican Culture Essay

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Food if one of the aesthetic identification of culture and tradition as it marks its progress from generation to generation, and history to history. Mexican cooking began with the arrival of humans in Mexico and as various cultures influence their cuisine, the tradition and cultural background of their menu have began to evolve. Mexican food, as we know it today, has had its primary origin in the 16th century from the introduction of European plants and food products by Spanish conquerors. This traditional mix-up has provided modification in their cuisine, which is currently evident in the Mexican food tradition.

Aside from its exquisite delicacy and characteristics, Mexican food provides therapeutic function and use commonly in homemade treatment proceedings. The herbs and ingredients in the Mexican food are the key points for the provision of therapeutic action. Mexican herbs are unique in their own way. The characteristic of these herbs are the essential contributing factor for this therapy to be possible. In the course of our discussion, the Mexican culture, evidently in terms of food- wine and restaurants, shall be the primary focus of the study.

The involvements of wine and food, in the sense of therapeutic action, as the primary traditional influence shall be elaborated and defined in the study. The influence of food and herbs in Mexican traditional therapy shall be also tackled in the course of discussion. Lastly, we shall explore the San Francisco California Bay and the Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The Mexican culture possesses a heritage in every unique aspect that greatly denounces its aesthetic value. Home or Traditional Therapies Food and Herbs The Mexican traditions are composed of exquisite herbs and ingredients that provide therapeutic effects.

The traditional home of Mexicans possesses no or less frequently refrigerating facility, supplies designed for classical lifestyle, and tradition rich in practical home-therapies; hence, they are more accustomed in their traditional therapeutic intervention utilizing their natural sources. In fact, Mexican possesses evident indulgence in their traditions that they prefer to have their food, and other home condiments in natural estate or made from nature-oriented proceeding. This greatly improves their health conditions, and provides them with practical source of therapeutic interventions.

The basic feature of Mexican foods is its unique way of expressing its spiciness and traditional aroma. One of the spices that provide therapeutic effects in the body is the Capsaicin, which is a primary constituent of peppers such as the jalapeno and the habanero. Capsaicin has several uses, including use in personal defense sprays and as to relieve arthritis pain. When first applied to skin, capsaicin causes local heating and irritation. However, after repeated use, the area becomes desensitized to pain without loss of the sense of touch (Fox & Whitesell, 1997 p.

550). Capsaicin pepper has been found to work as an anticoagulant, thus possibly helping to prevent heart attacks or strokes caused by the formation of clots in blood vessels. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which is the bodys natural painkillers, and kills the stomach bacterium known to cause ulcers. Another pepper is the Cayene, which is an important constituent of Mexican hot sauce. Cayene adds the spicy zip to many ethnic foods, such as Thai and Mexican food, and can be used in marinades and barbecue sauces.

This pepper is rich in vitamin C, A, B-complex, E and other minerals (Balch, p. 147 2003). Another food ingredient of Mexican foods that possesses therapeutic aid is the pumpkin seeds. The seeds from the pumpkin, also known as pepitas, are popular ingredient in Mexican dishes, and are available with or without their shells. This pepitas provide essential means of treating constipation due to its fiber content. Moreover, it is blended with Mexican traditional recipes such as burittos or Nachos, not only to provide exquisite taste but also to institute unique flavoring.

These pepitas are high in calories and insoluble fibers, which help primarily in inducing in digestive tract thereby facilitating decrease of occurrence of constipation (Gilbert, 2000 p. 178). In terms of Mexican wine, it provides unique blends of tradition served in stemmed glasses. Wine is the usual pair of Mexican foods in order to suit the spiciness of the dishes. Mexican wine classifications possess the usual red and white wine, which are primarily obtained from fruits mixed with spices. The northern end of Baja California is one of the places in Mexico that is known to brew wine at its best (Dumois, n.

d). Citizens of Mazahua and Otoml living in Central Mexico drink pulque from childhood, because of both its nutritional properties and scarcity of water. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage obtained from maguey, which composes primarily of complex fruit sugars (Peele & Grant, 1999 p. 93). Wine quickens the pulse, raises the spirits, and prophylactic against disease and as a dietetic aid. It is also used as medicine in acute and chronic diseases. Wine is proven good for cardiovascular system, especially in reducing risks of arteriosclerosis or other cardiovascular-degenerative disorders.

Food & Herbs Mexican Traditions Mexican diet of today is rich in a variety of foods and dishes that represent a blend of pre-Columbian, Spanish, French, and more recently, American culture. The typical Mexican diet is rich in complex carbohydrates, provided mainly by corn and corn products, beans, rice, and breads, The typical Mexican diet contains an adequate amount of protein in the forms of beans, eggs, fish and shellfish, and a variety of meats, including beef, pork, poultry, and goat. Because of the extensive use of frying as a cooking method, the Mexican diet is also high in fat.

The nutrients most likely to be inadequately provided are calcium, iron, vitamin A, folic acid and vitamin C (Spark, 2007 p. 258). In many cultures, food has symbolic meanings related to family traditions, social status, and even health. Indeed, many folk remedies rely on food. Some of these have gained wide acceptance, such as the use of spices and herbal teas for purposes ranging from allaying anxiety to preventing cancer and heart disease. Mexicans use these herbal teas as dietary or reducing drinks to induce further or hasten metabolism as well as digestive functions.

In fact, herbal teas are healthy enough that the old Mexican traditions practice its drinking almost everyday. This tea is composed of basic Mexican herbs, such as cinnamon, parsely, etc. , and blended with intrinsic Mexican spices; hence, some of their teas are blended with mild spiciness (Insel etal, 2004 p. 9). The traditional Mexican diet is rich in fresh vegetables, which are generally used only when in season. The spices used in Mexican cooking are common to many cuisines, and yet, there are a number of seasonings that are unique to Mexican food.

Chile peppers are used as a dry spice as well as a fresh ingredient. There are many types, with the most common being ancho, habenero, jalapeno, New Mexican green, New Mexican Red, poblano and Serrano. These peppers range from mild, like poblano, to the extremely hot habanero. Other herbs and spices that flavor Mexican cuisine are anise, cilantro, cinnamon, clove, cumin, garlic, marjoram, Mexican oregano and thyme. The herbs and spices, particularly the Mexican oregano and chilli peppers, are used in various ceremonies and traditional celebrations.

The chilli peppers are given to tests the spice tolerance of participants during fiestas. Oregano, on the other hand, is believed by locals to alleviate various diseases and administered via its boiled leaves. Oregano is another traditional Mexican her that cures fever, cough and colds, sore throat problems and sometimes used to treat bruises, insect bites and mild pruritic or fungal infection when used in topical preparation (Koeller & La France, 2005 p. 222). Another Mexican herb that provides utmost therapeutic effects is Ginger, which is technically a rhizome or underground stem.

This is used in variety of meals ranging from simple porridge to complex traditional meal. Mexican ginger is good at alleviating gastrointestinal tract symptoms, such as motion sickness, gastric musculature or tachygastria and gastric immobility. It is usually prescribed by the locals for treating hyperacidity, and abdominal pains related to acidic conditions. Moreover, ginger is also used to treat conditions involving throat spasms by functioning as a throat relaxant and relieving throat irritation (Koeller & La France, 2005 p.

222). Mexican culture and tradition involves variety of herbs that are, basically, the ingredients of most of their traditional meal such as the ever-famous burritos and nachos, and the wines and teas provide therapeutic benefits as well. San Francisco California Bay The Mexican American population is evidently present in the San Francisco California Bay area. From the San Franciscos Mission District to San Jose, Chicanos possesses the highest population index, ranging from 65% to 80% of the residents, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mexican immigrants feel at home in these areas already even if they are living with American citizens. However, population project is one major problem occurring at this point. Demographic studies predict that the greatest population growth rates of Mexican immigrants will be from the influx of undocumented individuals. Mexican immigrants are also expected to have high fertility rates, creating a younger generation of American-born children whose immigrant parents make an at risk population (Gilbert, 2000 p. 178).

Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Restaurants Talking now about the famous Mexican restaurants found in the area, Cinco de Mayo Taqueria is the starting point of discussion. The name of Cinco de Mayo meand 5th day of May in Spanish, and denotes a regional celebration or holiday. Although this is not an obligatory holiday, there are lots of individual going and participating in this one time per year celebration. Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, commemorates the Mexican victory over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862.

It is not, as many people think, Mexicos Independence Day, which is actually Sept. 16. During this Cinco de Mayo, many people are turning to tequila and cerveza, Spanish for beer, to celebrate another holiday that for some means nothing more than another excuse to drink exorbitant amounts of alcohol. Commonly misinterpreted as Mexicos Independence Day, Cinco de Mayos meaning has been clouded by partying. In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated throughout the country, especially in the state of Puebla and in Mexico City.

Military parades complete with marching bands and traditional music, pay tribute to all the soldiers, civilians and heroes who gave their lives for their country. The celebration lasts all day, with food, dancing, mariachi bands, laughter and fellowship (McClenahan, 2005). Ironically, celebrations of Cinco de Mayo are more widespread and elaborate in the United States. Mexican American communities in states such as Texas, California, and Arizona celebrate this occasion with parades, fairs, marchias, folkloric dance, and the best of all is the Mexican cuisines (McClenahan, 2005).

Moreover, Cinco de Mayo of 1989 illustrates how women worked to bridge ethnic and racial groups in a public way while expressing their own identities. Cinco de Mayo is an ethnic festival, which is the same as St. Patricks Day, that has transcended ethnic barriers. The Mexican community and even other ethnic diversion from different places and culture gather in this party. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a major cultural festival, wherever significant numbers of people boast Mexican descent.

Throughout the Southwest, people of all ethnicities gather to eat Mexican food and drink Mexican beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages (McClenahan, 2005). People from other ethnic origins join this huge festivity every year and celebrate the Mexican culture. The basic interest of other ethnic groups in joining this celebration is rarely due to historical reasons, but most of the time, to celebrate the exquisite characteristics and features of Mexican culture.

Reference Balch, P. A. (2003). Prescription for Dietary Wellness. Avery. Dumois, L. (n.d. ). INSIDE MEXICO THE SERIES: THE SPIRIT OF WINE.Retrieved November 11, 2007, from http://www. mexconnect. com/mex_/travel/ldumois/ldcwine1. html Fox, M. , & Whitesell, J. K. (1997). Organic Chemistry. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Gilbert, M. N. (2000). Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook. Upublish. com. Insel et. al, P. M. (2004). Nutrition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Koeller, K. , & La France, R. (2005). Lets Eat Out! : Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free. R & R Publishing. McClenahan, B. (2005, May 5).

Oregon students celebrate Cinco de Mayo. University Wire, (n. d. ). Central Mexican Culture. Retrieved November 11, 2007, from Colibri: http://www. colibrimexicanbistro. com/ (n. d. ). Mamacita. Retrieved November 11, 2007, from Mamacita: http://www. mamacitasf. com/ (n. d. ). Tres Agaves. Retrieved November 11, 2007, from Tres Agaves: http://www. tresagaves. com/about. html Peele, S. , & Grant, M. (1999). Alcohol and Pleasure: A Health Perspective. Psychology Press. Spark, A. (2007). Nutrition in Public Health: Principles, Policies, and Practice. CRC Press.

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