What is Salsa, Anyway? A History Lesson


Hummus chicken salad

The world of dips has recently experienced a sharp increase in options. While it used to be plain old bean dip and the occasional artichoke dip, snackers are now able to choose from a myriad of finger licking options, such as tzatziki dip, spicy guacamole, hummus dips, and even kale dip. But whatever happened to the good old tried and true, salsa? Luckily, salsa hasn’t gone anywhere and it won’t anytime soon. What is salsa you ask? Well the history should explain it well enough:
Salsa dips can be traced all the way back to the Mayans, Incans, and Aztecs in Mexico in the 1500s. According to history, Aztec lords used to combine chili, tomatoes, and other spices to top on fish, chicken and other proteins. When the Spaniards came and conquered the land around 1520, they ‘discovered’ tomatoes. Around 1570, Alonso de Molina observed the Aztec recipe and officially dubbed it what is salsa today. This was when salsa recipes became recognized and utilized and widespread.
In 1916, a gentleman from Louisiana named Charles E. Erath began manufacturing his own hot sauce. From there, hot sauce became a common business, and new flavors and companies sprung up all over the country.
Today, salsa is extremely popular. Typically, it’s made with tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, salt, pepper, and whatever else you want to put in it. There are many variations made from different kinds of tomatoes and of varying heat. Some recipes even include fruit, such as pineapple and mango.
A whole culture has developed from the world of salsa and hot sauces. Many people even intentionally eat salsa so spicy, that it makes them cry. To them, it’s considered a sport and a hobby.
Salsa isn’t just for dipping, either. It’s a versatile food that can be eaten with eggs, bread, sandwiches, and even as a dressing for salad.
How do you eat salsa? Tell us in the comments below!

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