Cortez arrived in Mexico from Spain in 1521. He and his group discovered many new foods in the New World that they had never tasted before such as squash, vanilla, peanuts, avocados, chocolate, tomatoes, corn, beans, and coconuts. They shared what they had brought from Europe. The beef, cheese, lamb, pork, garlic, wine, milk, vinegar, and citrus fruits were quickly assimilated into Mexican cuisine and have long since become a major part of their diet.
Every cuisine is based on a few key ingredients. Mexican cuisine is based on beans, corn, and squash. Each area of Mexico then added their specialties. The Yucatan, for example, added fresh seafood and fruit. Northern Mexico became known for their grilled meats. Oaxaca and its surroundings contributed many different types of corn and chili peppers. They make at least seven different kinds of mole sauce in this region.
In Veracruz and its area, most recipes contain fresh fish. Fish is found in tamales, tacos, burritos and more due to the abundance of this ingredient. They also use a lot of olives, chili peppers, and tomatoes in this area. True Mexican food is very different from what you get in the United States.
The Mexican food we eat in the United States is really Tex-Mex food. In Mexico, it would be very rare to be served both rice and beans in the same course, or even the same meal. In the US, it is common to have them served together on the same plate. Salad is not a usual dish in Mexico, either. All of this is influenced from the US.
You can easily find some authentic Mexican recipes, just do not expect them to be like the meals you get in restaurants. Authentic Mexican cuisine is delicious and worth trying. Take a look at some of the regional recipes that use seafood or grilled beef. They are truly spectacular.
Eating Mexican food does not have to mean Spanish rice and tacos. Enjoy the true cuisine of Mexico with the richness of seafood, fresh ingredients, and all the variety they have in Mexico. It can easily be enjoyed in your own kitchen, even if you are far from Mexico. Make some for your family and see how they like this cuisine. It is so delicious they will want to try more recipes and learn more about them.