Aztec food was a rich combination of many foods that we take for granted today. Not only is much of this rich diet still common in Mexico today, it's spread around the world. Like the food common to modern day Mexico, Aztec food tended to be both rich and spicy.
Aztec Food facts
In fact, many of the ancient Aztec foods were flavored with chili peppers and contained spicy sauces. In addition, the main food of the Aztecs was the tlaxcalli, which was a corn-meal pancake similar to the modern day tortilla. This primary Aztec food was commonly wrapped around meat and vegetables in order to make tacos.
Cattle and other large meat-producing animals were introduced to the Americas by the European conquerors, and meat was therefore a luxury for the ordinary family in Aztec times. Fortunately Mexico is a land rich in vegetable foods and these formed the main items on the everyday menu.
Maize (also called corn ormealies) was the staple grain of the Aztec empire. Maize has been domesticated for thousands of years, and it likely first came into common use in Mexico, spreading to the rest of the world from there. Mexico is still one of the world's top maize growing countries.
Aztec beans And squash
Aztec food also included beans and squash. Of course, maize and beans are still a cornerstone of the Mexican diet, a healthy combination especially if you're not eating a lot of meat.
To add to these three, the Mexicas (people of the Aztec Empire) ate chillies, tomatoes, limes, cashews, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and of course chocolate. The Mexicas domesticated bees for honey, and turkeys for meat and eggs, also dogs and duck.
What did the Aztecs hunt
They hunted and fished as well, and used animals such as deer, rabbits, iguana, fish and shrimp for food. Even insects, such as grasshoppers and worms were harvested. These various types of meat made up only a very minor part of the Aztec food that was eaten.
Large amounts of algae were collected from the surface of the Texcoco Lake water. High in protein, this algae (known as tecuitlatl) was used to make bread and cheese type foods. This algae is still used in Mexico as a fertilizer.
The Aztecs often cooked food bundled in the Maguey plant leaves. This dish is called Mixiotes, and it's still eaten in Mexico today. Different leaves are used because the Maguey population was suffering.
The preparation of maize was a daily task for the housewife, and even now in country parts of Mexico it still occupies up to six hours of a woman's day. The kernels were steeped in lime overnight to loosen the hull, then boiled and skinned, and finally ground to flour by crushing between a grooved stone roller and a metate (a stone slab standing on three little legs).
The maize was usually made into tortillas, thin round cakes of unleavened meal baked on flat clay griddles about a foot in diameter. Tortillas become dry and inedible after a few hours and were accordingly made fresh for each meal. The daily ration for a three-year-old child was half a tortilla, and the amount was gradually increased until a five-year-old had a whole tortilla to himself and by the age of I3 3 was eating two per day.
The Aztec's had a passion for chocolate. In fact, one of the most sought after Aztec foods was actually a drink made of chocolate. Though the chocolate drink was a favorite treat of the Aztecs, only the wealthy were able to drink it often.
Another common Aztec drink was the octli, which was made from the juice of maguey plants. This tasty drink was a commonly used when dining.