Mix it up!

Brief History and Descriptions of Southwest Ingredients Used in Mixes

MESQUITE meal has been used as a food for centuries in the greater Southwest. The seed pod of the native mesquite tree is ground and sifted to make a fine, sweet meal for cooking. Naturally sweet, mesquite meal enables cutting back on the sugar content in recipes. It has an enticing caramel-like nutty flavor.

CHILES have long been an important source of food and spice in the Southwest. The powerful compound, capsaicin gives the fruit its pungent hotness. Chiles come in many sizes, shapes, colors and heat and are used fresh, dried, smoked and ground. Chipotle chiles are chiles, usually jalapeos, that are dried by smoking.

AMARANTH was a very important grain widely used by the Aztecs and other peoples of the greater Southwest before the Spanish arrived in the new world. The Spanish attempted to suppressed its cultivation because of amaranths importance in the native cultures and religious ceremonies. It has recently been rediscovered. Used today as a whole grain, ground into flour or puffed, amaranth has a great nutty flavor.

CORN has been an important part of the diet of the peoples of the new world for five thousand years. It is considered to be a sacred plant in many cultures and has traditionally been a part of every meal in the Southwest. Corn is used in many diverse ways: fresh, dried, parched, popped, roasted and ground.

CHOCOLATE - When the Spaniards arrived in the new world, they made a discovery far more important than the gold they came for: tasty and totally new foods such as chocolate and chile. Chocolate, laced with chile and spices and mixed with water for a drink, played an important role in the social and spiritual life of the Mayan and Aztec Indians. As chocolate made its way to Europe, more sweetener was added and the chile and spices were left out. Today, weve rediscovered the wonderful, energizing taste of chocolate and chile with a hint of spice.