Mexican cuisine is a staple in many parts of the United States, with burritos being a popular fast food item. But what about the diversity of Mexican food found in Central Arizona? Nancy Hann, a travel writer and longtime Arizona resident, has explored how the different communities and groups of people who have called Arizona home for hundreds of years have shaped the state's vibrant and diverse cuisine. The Federal Indian Expulsion Act of 1830 forced more than 100,000 Native Americans east of the Mississippi River to Oklahoma, completely altering their traditional diet and sources of food. Wheat flour, baking powder, lard and processed yellow cheese were staple foods issued to families in reserves, and are still being issued today.
The small but powerful chiltepin or bird chili pepper is considered the founding father of many chili species and grows wild in the desert grasslands of south-central Arizona. Native American cuisine can be found in a variety of locations around the state, from food trucks like The Fry Bread Truck to 5-star resorts. Small Mexican restaurants called cantinas began in the 1920s and spread to other parts of the country, popularizing many Mexican dishes such as chili, fajitas, tacos, tortillas and enchiladas. El Rincon Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar is a popular local spot that serves Mexican food and drinks made with fresh ingredients. This popular Mexican recipe is made with fried tortillas dipped in hot enchilada sauce. The impact of Mexican cuisine on American food culture has been positive in terms of how the people of Mexico influenced life in the United States.
However, some research suggests that increased immigration can cause natives to reject immigrants' food or culture due to perceived political threats or competition for employment. Despite this, Mexican cuisine continues to be enjoyed by foodies across the country. In conclusion, Central Arizona is home to a variety of Mexican dishes that have been shaped by different cultural influences over time. From Native American ingredients like chiltepin peppers to small cantinas that popularized many Mexican dishes, Central Arizona is a great place to explore the diversity of Mexican cuisine.