Mexican cuisine is well known for its use of corn-derived foods, but it also boasts a rich tradition of wheat-based baked goods. The tamale cake is a prime example of the blending of these two gastronomic aspects. The art of Mexican bakery is a specific field within the branches of craftsmanship in Mexico, and it encompasses both traditional bread and festive bread.
Gastronomy as a Means to Know a Society
Gastronomy is more than just food; it is a means of understanding a society's culture. The statement "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are" holds and a Mexican bakery is a perfect example of this. The flavors, textures, and techniques used in Mexican breadmaking reflect centuries-old traditions and an idiosyncratic taste unique to Mexican cuisine.
The Diversity of Mexican Bakery
The bakery industry in Mexico is wide and diversified, ranging from large manufacturing companies to small, traditional "tahonas" and "amasijos," as well as home productions. The demand for Mexican bread is high, and there is room for all types of producers. The intentions of both the artisan producers and the consumers are essential. Artisan producers offer bread that originates from centuries-old traditions, and consumers seek it because they recognize flavors and textures engraved in their memory from early childhood.
The Art of Bread Making
In a Mexican bakery, it is difficult to separate the bakers from the bakery. Even the most aseptic bakeries and oldest kneaders share the art of bread making, which has too many similarities. The raw materials, techniques, forms, and flavors used are largely the same, originating from Spanish and European traditions but transforming into a distinct, Mexican taste over the centuries.
Examples of Mexican Bakery
The wealth of tastes and textures in Mexican bakeries is exemplified in the artisan bakery of the State of Mexico. Specific places, such as Atlacomulco in the north; Atlautla and Chiautla in the east; Malinalco, Tenancingo, and Sultepec in the south; and Tenango del Valle in the central region, offer a wide variety of festive and traditional bread and cookies.
Mexican bakery is not just about satisfying hunger and nourishment. It is a cultural expression that reflects centuries-old traditions and a distinct, Mexican taste. The art of bread making has too many similarities, even in the most aseptic bakeries and oldest kneaders, because it is rooted in a common gastronomic tradition. Mexican bakery is a perfect example of how gastronomy can go beyond recipe books and penetrate another type of use, which goes beyond the strictly culinary or traditional.
In-Text Citation: Artesanía Mexiquense, La Magia De Nuestra Gente. 1st ed., Mexico, Gobierno del Estado de México, 2006.