Black Pepper & Mexican Food
I've always noticed the lack of a Pepper shaker to go along with the Salt in the majority of
Mexican restaurants I dine at.
Black pepper doesn't seem to have a place in Mexican cuisine. Is there a reason for this
beyond simple taste and preference?
Cultural history, trade routes, or.......?
Me think it's just not part of their food history since it probably only came late in their history since black pepper comes from south asia (india?) via Europe and later on via the colonization of the Americas.
Food-wise, It might simply clash too much with the flavour of mexican food (unfortunately I don't have a lot of experience with mexican/latino cuisine, so, ... )
Possibly it is a regional thing? Here in the area of Texas I live in most of the Tex-Mex restaurants have both salt and pepper. Even those considered more authentic Mexican usually seem to have both.
I just think a pepper shaker on the table is not necessary for most Mexican food. It is definitely being used in it's cooking; it is an important ingredient in many pastes such anchiote paste and rubs. It is not as common as many of us who use it out of habit.
In the Mexican spices section at the grocery store they always have pimienta molida and pimienta entero, ground and whole peppercorns in bags along with the dried chiles, oregano, etc. Not sure why they don't have it on the ta bles, but it isn't a stranger to Mexico.
BTW all the Mexican restaurants here all have slat and pepper for the most part, maybe not the taco wagons, though.
You could put the question another way - why do we (Americans, northern Europeans, or what ever) add black pepper at the table?
I suspect there are 2 reasons
- often it is the spiciest thing we add to our bland food, and our tastes for even that vary widely
- black pepper was, at one time, a very valuable spice. Having it at the table, where guests could add it to taste, would have been a sign of affluence.
In Mexico (and parts of South America) hot sauce, bottled or fresh home made, is a come table condiment, playing a similar role to black pepper on the American table.