In the early 1500s, invading Spanish explorer Cortez and his followers came to Mexico in search of great fortunes. Their great fortunes turned out to be the discovery of many great Spanish foods and dishes. They created chocolate from the fruit of the Mexican cacao tree and vanilla from the fruit-pod of a Mexican orchid. The Spaniards also brought new plants and animals. They introduced olive oil, cinnamon, parsley, coriander, oregano, and black pepper. They also brought almonds, rice, wheat, barley, apples, oranges, grapes, lettuce, carrots, cauliflowers, potatoes, and the plant that sugar comes from, sugarcane.
The newly emerging Mexican cuisine was continuing to be enriched by many countries. Countries included Africa, South America, Caribbean, and France. The French had an even greater influence in the 1860s. Mexico had a ruler who was supported by French troops from 1864 - 1867. In this time the French introduced many of their cooking ingredients and techniques.
It's easy to say that Mexican food is a mixture of many different cultures. The Mexican cuisine continues to be changed by outside influences.
Every year on May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) Mexico remembers its victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 by celebrating its national pride and heritage. On this day, Mexicans all around the world celebrate with parties, parades, dancing, and feasting. Many types of Mexican foods are served at these events. They include salsa, fajitas, and flan.
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