Arizona is one of those places with a cuisine that has benefited a great deal from the interactions between different cultures. In the present, its foods show clear influence from pioneer, Hispanic, and Native American culinary practices. Arizona isn't alone in this. However, it has definitely taken its foods in a direction of its own.
1. Cheese Crisp
Generally speaking, cheese crisps are believed to have been invented in Arizona. This is particularly true because they are most popular in said region. For those who are unfamiliar, cheese crisps are open-faced tortillas covered in shredded cheese before being put under a broiler until that shredded cheese becomes crisp. As such, they are somewhat reminiscent of quesadillas, though it is very easy to tell these two apart from one another by the fact that one is folded over while the other is not. Different cheese crisps use different cheeses in different combinations. Still, common cheeses include Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Oaxaca.
It isn't 100 percent clear how the chimichanga was invented. The most popular line of speculation is that it was created by accident in the state of Arizona, which to be fair, is responsible for the creation of a wide range of other foods and beverages as well. Regardless, these deep-fried burritos have since become very popular throughout the American Southwest as well as other places with a taste for Tex Mex cuisine.
3. Huevos Rancheros
Chances are good that interested individuals can guess that huevos rancheros was inspired by farm food. After all, even people who can't read Spanish should be able to guess that it is connected to ranches in some way. In any case, huevos rancheros consists of fried eggs as well as salsa on tortillas. It is very common for it to be served as other things as well.
4. Mesquite Flour
Flour tends to refer to wheat flour. Still, it is important to note that flour can be made using a wide range of other plant products, which include some that come from plants that might not be so familiar to interested individuals. To name an example, consider mesquite flour made using the pods of the mesquite tree. Flavor-wise, it is supposed to be a bit sweet as a bit nutty. Moreover, mesquite flour is useful in that it can be eaten by people who have issues with gluten.
5. Navajo Taco
Navajo tacos are tacos, though they can be recognized by how the tortilla has been replaced by fry bread. They aren't exclusive to the Dine. However, Navajo tacos continue to be associated with indigenous communities for very good reasons. Speaking of which, fry bread is a kind of flat dough bread that has been either fried or deep-fried. It tends to be made using simple ingredients such as flour, salt, sugar, and lard. This can be explained by the fact that it was invented by the Dine in a time when the actions of the U.S. government had cut them off from their traditional foods, meaning that they had to make do with the ingredients that were given to them.
Piki is a kind of bread that comes from Hopi cuisine. Specifically, it is made using blue corn that has been powdered, nixtamalized, and then cooked over a heated baking stone. Piki is cooked within a very short period of time, so much so that it wouldn't be exaggerating to call the process near-instantaneous. This is because it is very thin, thus enabling it to be peeled from the baking stone in sheets before being rolled up into what are effectively scrolls.
Posole is a kind of traditional Mexican stew. It has ancient roots, as shown by how it features hominy. However, it has undergone plenty of updates over the centuries, as shown by how the hominy is often cooked along with pork or chicken plus other foods that have since managed to become Mexican staples. Supposedly, posole was once reserved for special occasions. Nowadays, posole is made for both special occasions and everyday consumption. Something that says much about just how versatile a stew can be when interested individuals can adjust the ingredients to their liking. It is interesting to note that posole is often divided up into white, red, and green varieties. The white variety is made without any special preparations. Meanwhile, the red and the green varieties feature a red sauce and a green sauce respectively, which are made using ingredients of the correct color.
8. Prickly Pear
Agriculture can be very versatile. For proof, look no further than the prickly pear, which refers to certain species of domesticated cacti that are grown in arid as well as semi-arid parts of the world. They see a surprising amount of use, if only because they are a very efficient way to turn water into biomass. Something that is extremely important in such regions. Prickly pears are often eaten in Arizona. Moreover, this includes not just the fruits but also the various products that can be made using the fruits.
9. Sonoran Hot Dog
Sonoran hot dogs are named thus because they came into existence in Hermosillo, which would be the capital of the Mexican state of Sonora. They have a number of features that make them stand out. For example, they have a sausage that has been wrapped in bacon before being grilled. Similarly, they have a bolillo-style bun. On top of that, they are often topped with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, and various condiments. Nowadays, Sonoran hot dogs are popular throughout much of Arizona.
Tamales are very old. They are well-known for having been eaten by the Mexicans. However, tamales predated said people, which makes sense because said people were relative late-comers to the Valley of Mexico. Still, it is incredible to think that tamales might have originated as far back as 8,000 to 5,000 BC. For context, that puts them around the same time that agriculture started up in Mesoamerica. In any case, tamales are as popular in the present as in the past, though they are served with a much wider range of fillings than ever before. Unsurprisingly, they are very popular in Arizona.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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