The origins of the pumpkin (subspecies Cucurbita pepo) go back at least 7,500 years to the highlands of Oaxaca (*1) where pumpkin continues to be served in quesadillas, tlayudas, mole, and more. Once they made it to North America, Irish immigrants transformed the pumpkin into the familiar jack-o-lantern we see today.
Red, white, blue, and yellow corn all originated from a grass called "teosintle" (*2) which was first domesticated in southern Mexico about 9,000 years ago. Central for many indigenous religions, maize was considered a sacred food and images can be seen carved in stones across the Americas.
Cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, brown sugar – all familiar ingredients for your typical pumpkin spice lattes. However, Mexicans have been drinking spiced coffees for generations! Cafe de Olla is traditionally prepared using nearly the same ingredients as the popular pumpkin spice, but from over 100 years ago during the Mexican-American War! Adelitas brewed the coffee in clay pots, ollas, to fuel the soldiers fighting in the war.
From the nahuatl word "xocolatl/xicolatl", chocolate was originally a hot, bitter drink often mixed with chili and corn meal – not unlike the champurrado still enjoyed today. The one key difference being the Spanish import of sugar. Once Europeans began to mix sugar and the chocolate beverage of Mexico, the modern hot chocolate was created. (*4)
Despite almost being the national bird of the United States, the turkey's origins go deep into the jungles of pre-hispanic Mexico.(*7 ) Domesticated around 800 BC, the turkey would go on as one of the New World's staple domestic food sources. Trade between indigenous communities would later bring the domestic turkey through all of North America where it became the ideal food source during the harvest and eventually, a Thanksgiving tradition.