A Brief History of Salsa and Hot Sauce

mexican dishWhat trip to the Mexican restaurant would be complete without salsa? I can’t think of any.  The flavor of an excellent fresh salsa is out of this world. We invite you to come by and check out some chips and salsa at Masa Taqueria.

The word salsa literally translates to “sauce” in Spanish. But today salsa and hot sauce are two separate items. In this article we will discuss the origin of salsa and hot sauce.

History of Salsa

Salsa, as we know it,  can be traced back as far as the time of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas. Salsa didn’t become a fixture in Spain until the 1500’s. You can’t have great salsa without tomatoes and the Aztecs were the first peoples to domesticate the tomato. Their first salsa contained chiles, tomatoes, squash and beans.

Hot Sauce

Just like tomatoes, chiles became widely used by the people of Central and South America.  The people there would create liquid sauces from the chiles and whatever other condiments were handy. Leaving out the more solid bits that usually go into salsa, they now had a spicy liquid they could sprinkle on foods as they ate it. The result being two different types of food additive, salsa and hot sauce. In today’s culture both of these items are a staple in any Mexican restaurant.

United States

There have always been salsa and hot sauces in the United States. This is because the country is relatively new and many different cultures came here for a new start. They brought their native foods and recipes with them. This included salsa and hot sauce. But, salsa and hot sauce were relatively unpopular until the 1980’s when both had an explosion in popularity. In fact between 1985 and 1990 salsa use saw an uptick in use by 79%! Before the 1990’s you may see one or two types of hot sauce on the shelf at the super market. Now they take up half of one side of the isle.

Americans love their salsa and they love hot sauce too. The two food items have done very well in this country.

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