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Southwestern - Cooking and Food[]

Overview of Southwestern Cuisine History[]

Southwestern cuisine is a mixture between the rusting cooking of more South Western US states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. It is considered to be comprised of a blending of recipes representing the things that might have been included in the cuisine of the cowboys, Native Americans and Mexicans throughout the post-Columbian period. The Southwestern cuisine has been strongly influenced by the Mexican cuisine. The basic difference between the two cuisines is that the Mexican cuisine involves larger cuts of meat. The Southwestern cuisine is well known for its use of spices, such as chili pepper and Tabasco sauce. Some of the most famous Southwestern dishes are the Chili con carne and fajitas. During the last few decades the Southwestern cuisine have become quite popular, thus several chains of restaurants specialized in this cuisine have developed in the United States.

Cuisines of Southwestern[]

The Southwestern cuisine is hot, spicy and delicious and that is mostly due to the Mexican and Native American influences. The quesadillas, guacamole, enchiladas and tequila are some of the tastiest and potent treats that the Southwestern cuisine has to offer. The cornerstones of this delicious cuisine are corn and beans. The Southwestern cooking uses corn is many various ways. For instance, cornhusks are dried and then used in order to wrap tamales, corn kernels is the basic ingredient in tortilla and it can also be ground into cornmeal. Corn kernels are also very ingeniously used for oil or as flour when dried and milled. The tortilla shells stuffed with a variety of ingredients have become a Southwestern cuisine icon and has entered nearly almost every kitchen in the United States. Native Americans used to eat tortillas every day the same way people use bread today. In combination with pinto beans, another Southwestern favorite, the tortilla was the basis of almost any meal even breakfast. Another food that comes to mind when talking of Southwestern cuisine is chili. The chili is also known as chili peppers although they are not actually peppers. One of the best ways to enjoy chili is in salsa, which is one of the most favorite condiments in the Southwestern cuisine and the US altogether.

Preparation Methods for Southwestern Cooking[]

The Southwestern cuisine is very much influenced by the Mexican cuisine. Thus many of the Mexican preparation methods are used in cooking the Southwestern dishes. Southwestern cuisine, however, involves larger cuts of the ingredients especially meat. One of the most used preparation methods in Southwestren cuisine is frying. Almost all dishes involve fried vegetables or/and meat. Boiling is another quite popular preparation method, but usually the ingredients are also boiled in oil. Corn is one of the most used ingredients in the Southwestern cuisine and it has various ways of preparation. Its kernel can be dried and milled and used as flour and its husks can also be used as wraps when dried.

Special Equipment for Southwestern Cooking[]

The utensils used in Southwestern cuisine are basically the tools that are used in any other cooking style, such as pans, can openers, colanders, poachers and holders, dishers, bowls, portitioners and other food containers. However, Southwestern cuisine also uses special cooking equipment borrowed from the Mexican cuisine. For example, you will always find in a respectable Southwestern kitchen molacahes, which are special cooking tools that are used to grind chiles and make masa. Another such cooking tool is the tortilla press, also known as “tortillero”, used for flattening the masa. The “comal” is also a cooking utensil used in Southwestern cuisine in order to prepare tortillas and blister chiles.

Southwestern Food Traditions and Festivals[]

Southwestern cuisine is also quite vivid during festivals and traditional celebrations. There are a lot of celebrations and festivals in this area of the United of States and it is only natural, as there is a colorful population. Each ethnic group brings its own traditions and celebrations. Food has always been connected with these celebrations and festivals. One of the most important festivals is the Fiery Foods and BBQ Show that takes place every March in Albuquerque, NM. The main attraction at this festival is the huge collection of hot and spicy foods on display. The collection includes a long list of sauces, salsas, candies, honeys, chips, pestos, snacks, soups and many more. Another very popular Southwestern festival in the United States is the annual Ostrich Festival being referred as one of the top ten unique festivals in America. The foods present at this festival are most capable to describe the Southwestern cuisine.




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The Southwestern cuisine has become quite popular in North America in the past decades. This happened mainly because of the incredibly talented chefs who have so ingeniously combined the Spanish, Native American and Mexican cuisine cultures in their kitchens. These chefs managed to take the native ingredients and made them become United States culinary trends. The new dishes are influenced by ethnic recipes and local food sources, but they have their own distinctive flavor to enjoy. Regional foods are usually characterized by being influenced by ethnic groups. These regional foods started to spread across the United States as the population has developed an increasing appreciation for them.