“The globalization of food in New Spain was largely a story of conquest, but it unfolded in highly uneven fashion. The continued reliance on maize by the majority of the population, including large numbers of mestizos and downwardly mobile Spaniards, illustrated the limits of culinary colonialism. Foods moved across social boundaraies and entered at the margins of both native and European culinary systems. In rural areas, maize remained the foundation of everyday subsistence, while imported livestock and spices gained high status through their consumption during religious festivals, perhaps once a year, when a single animal might be slaughtered to feed an entire community. Meanwhile, those at the edge of urban Hispanic society generally ate a more indigenous diet, confirming their lower status. Even the elite, who could afford expensive wheat bread, soon acquired a taste for native condiments such as chiles and chocolate. Although the dual tyrannies of nature and status determined the broad outlines of food distribution, according to where the crops would grow and who could afford to purchase them, cooks nevertheless had considerable latitude shaping the flavors of New Spain. Despite the culinary blending, one looks in vain for an authentic Mexican cuisine in the colonial era.”
–Jeffrey M. Pilcher, Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, page 35.
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