Cuisine Diversity among the Mexican and Southwestern Cultures


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Cuisine Diversity among the Mexican and Southwestern Cultures

Cultural heritage is one of the aspects that different communities adore and live to be proud of no matter where they are located. Various communities have different cultures that are exhibited in various forms such as foods, clothing and other ways of life. In the book “Border Bites’ in McWhorter, it’s no different as the author; Heather Gianakos compares various delicacies from different cultures in a bid to show the rich foods that different communities adore as well as the differences in those types of foods. Reading from the book name ‘Border Bites,’ we already have a clue of what the author is planning to discuss in the book as it is all about delicacies. Again by the name ‘Border,’ the reader is intrigued with the thoughts that the author wants to discuss issues that cross over the border and for this case the Mexican and American border. The author sets up the essay by making the readers aware of the topic to be discussed, and that is an overlap in the different variations of the American foods.

The author’s primary purpose of writing the essay is to educate the readers making them aware of the rich diversity of the American foods and how different they are from a community to the other. A lot of people are not aware of the differences that exist in the types of foods consumed by various communities. In the book, the author discusses the differences between the Southwestern foods with Latin influences versus the traditional Mexican cooking, and therefore the primary aim of the author is to make the reader aware of the differences thus serving an educational motive. The cultural traditions, as well as the geographical influences, are among the factors that contribute to the subtle flavor differences among the two types of foods.

The essay is a comparison as well as a contrast due to various reasons. For one, the author chooses two subjects, and that is the Southwestern food versus the Mexican food to which tend to be closely related in the sense that the two communities border one another and therefore there has been a lot of cultural exchanges between the two communities, and consequently they are enough to make a comparison. However, there do exist some differences in the delicacies, and consequently, the topic under discussion is worth for contrast, and thus the author compares and contrasts the foods with a specific aim of educating the reader. At the beginning of the essay, the author mentions that the differences between the foods are subtle and most often, subtle differences get lost in a subject by subject comparison (McWhorter, 374). Point by point comparison enables the author of the book to focus on the petty scale items with close attention to detail in the bid to distinguish the differences and similarities in a subject.

Various situations give rise to the cooking styles and here is where the main differences and similarities are seen. The other makes the readers aware that there are difficult situations for the southwestern foods and this is evident from the topic sentence. The author, therefore, tells the reader that she will discuss the conditions under which the different styles get to be developed. Concerning the Southwestern foods, there are varying difficult conditions to those of the Mexican foods. In the southwestern foods, the cooking is done over the campfires with minimal ingredients while on the other hand, the Mexican foods are cooked at home and around the coastal areas (McWhorter, 374). The Mexican food varies again in that the food is cooked with plenty of seafood fresh fruits and vegetation, an ingredient that is hard to find in the southwestern foods as the people are not close to the shores.

The other difference between the two foods arises in the manner to which the tortillas are made. The tortillas are a thin and flat pancake that is made from the maize flour and can be eaten hot or cold mostly with a savory filling. In Mexico, the tortillas are made from corn and have been a traditional food among the indigenous Mexicans for many years (McWhorter, 374). There are slight differences in the making of tortillas from the people of the southwest in that the culture borrows much from the Mexican culture in that the tortillas are the same shapes but rather differ in the content. In the Southwestern tortillas, the main ingredient is wheat flour, and this replaces the corn flour in the Mexican culture in making the tortillas. In making the difference clear, the author provides the example of tamales to support the claim that corn is one of the key difference between the Mexican cuisine and that of the Southwestern.

The difference between the two cuisines tend to deepen further in that apart from the tortillas, other ingredients tend to make the difference, and this is evidenced in the preparation of meat. Meat is prepared differently in the two cultures. The southwestern cuisine is made up of fried chicken, and this is different from the Mexican cuisine in that the Mexican cooking is composed of stewed meat and sometimes baked (McWhorter, 374). From this difference, the Mexican cuisine of meat is served with stew making it different from the southwestern cuisine that is fried with no stew for the same type of meat that is derived from chicken.

Apart from chicken meat, beef is another recipe that distinguishes the two cultures. The similarity is that they both consume beef and meat, but the main difference arises in the recipes. The southwestern culture cuisine of beef is made up of grilled meat (McWhorter, 374). The Mexican cuisine of beef is served with a combination of other things, spiced and filling a tortilla. To the Mexican culture, meat is an ingredient but not treated as the central focus.

Pork is another kind of meat that is a differentiating factor between the foods of the two cultures. In the southwestern cultures, the barbeque is famous, and the author describes competitions in the making of the barbeque. The author further notes that the origin of the barbeque is in the Mexican cooking and it’s, therefore, right that despite the barbeque being famous in the southwestern culture, it has its origin from the Mexican culture (McWhorter, 374). The author continues to note that the style of preparing the pork is similar, but the difference arises among the ingredients used in the preparation of the delicacy. The author through the barbeque prepared from pork is able to convince the readers that the southwestern culture in terms of food was influenced by the Mexican foods considering that the tortillas are a Mexican cuisine that has also been adopted by the Southwestern cultures.

The author has achieved her primary goal of showcasing the differences and similarities among the cuisines of the Southwestern and Mexican foods. Besides, she has also served the purpose of educating the readers in that they have been made aware of the similarities between the foods of the two cultures while at the same time made aware of the dominant culture. The Mexican foods that most influenced the southwestern foods such as the tortillas and barbeque and therefore making the two cultures almost similar. The author has also made clear distinctions between the two cultures through examining the minor distinctions preventing the reader having the view of a singular style, and this includes fried and stewed meat and chicken differentiating between the two cultures.

Work Cited

McWhorter, Kathleen T. Successful College Writing: Skills-Strategies-Learning Styles. Macmillan, 2011.