The Flavors of Independent Mexico

narrated by Guillermo Prieto

By Museo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim

Mexican Landscape by Conrad Wise ChapmanMuseo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim

With Mesoamerican and New Spain heritages, in the 19th century the foundations of Mexican identity were consolidated in many ways. Food and drink were part of this process.

A testimony rich in details about the diet in the 19th century comes from "Memorias de mis tiempos," a book by Guillermo Prieto.

Coco chocolatero (1740/1760) by Trabajo novohispano o guatemaltecoMuseo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim

Breakfast and lunch

"The Mexicans that had the fortune of eating well more than three times per day, when they woke up they drank chocolate in water or milk, beverages such as champurrado (hot, corn based beverage with chocolate)...

 Antón parado (a very thick atole), chileatole or simply white atole with a piece of panocha amelcochada (sweetened corn grain) or acitrón (candied cactus)."

Guillermo Prieto

Cuadro de comedor (1840/1860) by José Agustín ArrietaMuseo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim

Lunch took place at ten o'clock in the morning; it could include roast mutton or chicken, zucchini, mole, manchamanteles, adobo or stew. All these dishes were always accompanied with beans.

Familia del general don Felipe Codallos (1838/1838) by José Agustín ArrietaMuseo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim

For home visits...

"11:00 in the morning was the ideal time to receive friends and acquaintances. Visitors were offered different varieties of drinks and snacks: while women were entertained with sweet wines, biscuits and sweets, men were served "Catalan wine," that is, without a brand name."

Mealtime took place at one o'clock in the afternoon. Prieto describes broths, soups and stews of all kinds with hare, turkey, pigeon and other poultry, in which the "high school cooks" brought out their skills.

Juego de té (1770/1800) by Real Fábrica de Cristal de San Ildefonso de la GranjaMuseo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim

Snacks and dinner

Between four and five in the afternoon, families would satisfy their hunger with hot chocolate. Around ten at night, dinner tended to be accompanied by a roast and salad, in addition to mole de pecho.

Dining Table by Agustín ArrietaMuseo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim


Families spared no expenses to celebrate and feast on "holy days" during festivals, occasions on which dishes of a great variety were prepared: beef, rabbit, chicken, mutton and pork were accompanied by carrots, pumpkins, chayote squash and other vegetables.

Credits: Story

Equipo Museo Soumaya
Revista mensual Museo Soumaya. México siglo XIX, enero de 2018.
Revista mensual Museo Soumaya. De casa y de calle. El siglo XIX mexicano en la colección de Museo Soumaya. Julio de 2020.
Revista mensual Museo Soumaya. Rostros en la colección de Museo Soumaya. Agosto de 2018.
Libro Museo Soumaya Tomo I, diciembre de 2015.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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