Talk:Aztec cuisine

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Former good article Aztec cuisine was one of the Agriculture, food and drink good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
February 6, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
February 8, 2016 Good article reassessment Delisted
Did You Know
Current status: Delisted good article

Good article nomination on hold[edit]

This article's Good Article promotion has been put on hold. During review, some issues were discovered that can be resolved without a major re-write. This is how the article, as of January 2, 2008, compares against the six good article criteria:

1. Well written?: Yes.
2. Factually accurate?: A good article must contain in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements. The article contains too few inline references to meet this standard. For instance, the quotation "Our sustenance suffers, ..." and the statements about the value of cacao beans are not attributed.
3. Broad in coverage?: Yes.
4. Neutral point of view?: Yes.
5. Article stability? Yes.
6. Images?: Yes. However, the caption of the "Spirulina" image lacks the reference to its source that the other images have. Sandstein (talk) 14:24, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Please address these matters soon and then leave a note here showing how they have been resolved. After 48 hours the article should be reviewed again. If these issues are not addressed within 7 days, the article may be failed without further notice. Thank you for your work so far.— Sandstein (talk) 14:24, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

2. I'll bolster the references for the quote and some other things when I get access to Coe when the university libary opens again next week.
6. The facsimile of the Florentine Codex is in the same library as Coe. I'll check the folio number next week.
Peter Isotalo 15:20, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I would like to add a further concern: the article uses only two different secondary sources and does not discuss at all which primary sources the information rest on. ·Maunus· ·ƛ· 15:29, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I've tried to find more works on Aztec cuisine, but Coe and Ortiz de Ortellano were the only ones I could find. To the best of my knowledge there isn't all that much written on the subject. Coe's in particular draws on many other writers and is fairly recent.
Exactly what kind of discussion of primary sources are we talking about here?
Peter Isotalo 15:20, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Sources on Aztec duisine are predominantly two: the Florentine Codex and knowledge of modern indigenous cuisine extrapolated to the precolumbian situation. This should be mentioned and discussed. Plus ideally the information provided should be traced to one of those sources.·Maunus· ·ƛ· 14:44, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The Florentine Codex is crucial, yes, but there are also plenty of accounts from Spanish conquistadors and missionaries. There's probably a lot to be extrapolated from ethnological studies of modern Mexican cuisine, but Coe focuses mostly on texts and archaeological evidence. As far as I can tell, source are specified throughout the text, but I don't feel a lengthy discussion of primary sources is within the scope of this article.
Peter Isotalo 21:10, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Note I have to concentrate on studies for about two weeks. A reprieve until after January 21 would be greatly appreciated.

Peter Isotalo 14:33, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Long lead[edit]

To me, this article seems to have an excessively long lead (the bit before the first main heading). I have neither the time nor the expertise to improve it, but thought I would note it here so that other editors may have a chance at improving it. me_and (talk) 01:43, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I removed some information about beverages which was is repeated in the main body of the article. Does it still seem too long?
Peter Isotalo 19:45, 5 February 2008 (UTC) as well as utc

Good article nomination passed[edit]

Because the issues mentioned above have generally been addressed, the article has passed good article nomination. Congratulations! Sandstein (talk) 06:13, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank you very much. I appreciate the input.
Peter Isotalo 08:28, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Aztecs Legal age for drinking was 60 yrs old , or else they would be sentanced to death. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:21, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Blowing on maize??[edit]

An Aztec woman blowing on maize before putting in the cooking put, so that it will not fear the fire. Florentine Codex, late 16th century.

Fellow Mesoamericanists: To my eye, the squigglies in front of the woman in the Florentine Codex look like speech scrolls, and that she is actually speaking or (in my opinion) singing. I have added a "[citation needed]" to the caption. Any insight anyone?? Madman (talk) 21:26, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Read the paragraph right next to the picture. It's explained in Coe. There is nothing in there about singing or talking to maize before it is cooked.
Peter Isotalo 03:48, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
We should verify this in the florentine codex not in Coe. It does indeed look like speech scrolls. Coe is not a particularly reliable translator of Nahuatl. ·Maunus· ·ƛ· 01:20, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm also thinking that Coe might have misinterpreted. How can we check with the Codex?? Madman (talk) 03:19, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
The Florentine Codex is written in Nahuatl and Spanish as far as I know. There are fascimile editions and I'm pretty sure there are modern Spanish editions. The picture I scanned has a folio reference you can look up if you wish to make your own conclusions.
Peter Isotalo 06:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Btw, is there any reason we should believe that breathing and speaking would be illustrated differently? Are the examples of "breathing scrolls"?
Peter Isotalo 04:17, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
It's certainly a possibility! I'm hoping Maunus, Nahuatl scholar that he is, will have some insight into how to check the Codex itself. Thanks for your concern, Peter. Madman (talk) 12:59, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
If you have trouble getting hold of a facsimile, I can get you photos of selected folios from the edition at Stockholm University Library.
Peter Isotalo 15:44, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
being in the outback at the moment I cannot check the florentine codex untill July :( .·Maunus· ·ƛ· 20:34, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
July is fine with me. It's not a big deal -- obviously the woman is forcing air out in conjuction with the maize, and the details of how she's doing it can wait. What "outback" are you in, pray tell, Maunus ol' chap? And how do you have an Internet connection?  : ) Madman (talk) 20:52, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Im in Hueyapan, Morelos and I probably could find a copy of the florentine codex, but I would need to know where to look and it would cost me a few days of travel. In Denmark I know where to go. Hopefully July will also see uploads of new photos from Chalcatzingo, Xochicalco, Tenayuca, Santa Cecilia Acatitlán, Malinalco and the Templo Mayor.·Maunus· ·ƛ· 21:12, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Hey Maunus, hope the research travel 'n' all is going well, & look forward to seeing those pics.

It looks like Sophie Coe gets that quote about Aztec women breathing on maize so it "would not fear the fire" directly from the Dibble & Anderson translation of the Florentine, so the words at least can be considered authoritative.

But that passage comes from Book 5 (p.184), so I guess the question is whether this particular illustration from the codex accompanies the text, or whether it comes from another place in the codex (in which case, it might be depicting something else).

The img is captioned as coming from Book 1 (f.347R) of the Florentine - can this be validated? I thought Book 1 of the codex was where various Aztec deities were described, and that it did not contain observations on daily custom and the like...?

On a side note, looking around I was interested to find a current syllabus on Ancient Middle America from University of Minnesota, Duluth, which refers to and uses some of the material in this article (see here), including this very illustration and its caption(!) --cjllw ʘ TALK 07:29, 7 June 2008 (UTC)


Cannibalism, regardless of whether it took place in certain rituals, has *nothing* to do with cuisine.

Cuisine is (according to our very own wiki page): a specific set of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a specific culture.

While cannibalism may be considered a (religious) "tradition" or "practice", it still does not qualify:

Cooking is the process of preparing food by applying heat. and: Food is any substance, usually composed of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal, including humans, for nutrition or pleasure.

This clearly does not include substances that are eaten or drunk for purposes other than nutrition or pleasure. For example, although various poisons have at times been eaten by humans for the purpose of building immunity, these are not considered food.

Cannibalism, to whatever extent it was practiced if at all, was most certainly not practiced for the purposes of nutrition or pleasure. Human flesh was never food, and the preparation of it was never cuisine. Furthermore, this information is already available in another article. It doesn't need to be duplicated here, certainly when it is not pertinent to the topic. See: Cannibalism_in_pre-Columbian_America —Preceding unsigned comment added by Accius (talkcontribs) 22:56, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

You tried removing this information before[1] and was reverted with a valid argument.[2] Though it was civil of you to provide a more detailed explanation, the argument is still valid. The information is included in this article not to present cannibalism as a part of normal Aztec cuisine, something made perfectly clear in the text, but to dispel a popular myth. It's comparable to information about how spices were not used to disguise the taste of spoiled food in medieval cuisine. Whether unusual types of food intake, such as rituals, should be considered to be part of cuisine is worth discussing, but it's not a valid argument for removing this info entirely.
Peter Isotalo 10:03, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree with your argument, and now understand the reasoning for including this. However, before your explanation, the article appeared to be presenting cannibalism as an actual part of cuisine, despite the refutation of the myth that it was resorted to out of nutritional need. I still think the clarity of this could be improved. And as long as we're dispelling myths, I think it deserves mention that there is skepticism as to whether, even in rituals, cannibalism was actually practiced often or at all. I would have to find sources, but I know there is some thought that the human flesh was swapped out for more typical meat (e.g. fowl) before consumption. Also, since this topic is more thoroughly covered with its own article, it may be better to put a brief explanation dispelling myths of widespread nutritional cannibalism, followed by a link to the main article for more details. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Accius (talkcontribs) 21:28, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I was under the impression that the existence of ritual cannibalism among the Aztecs was something fairly uncontroversial among scholars. I mean, don't even sources based on accounts by the Aztecs themselves describe cannibalism? I don't want to comment either way, though, since I haven't read much about the matter. If you have sources that can make the article more nuanced, please don't hesitate to present them.
I don't know if I personally agree that the current text presents cannibalism as anything like "an actual part of cuisine", though. I mean, it does begin with the the very unambiguous statement about "ritual cannibalism". But if you have ideas on how this should be improved suggestions are most welcome.
Peter Isotalo 16:31, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

I have moved Cannibalism to its own section, since it is not a "dietary norm", and to subsection it as such would provide the suggestion that it was a routine part of the diet, rather than a ritualistic practice. I understand that the contents of the section itself explain this, but it still belongs under its own section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:30, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Omnivorous or Vegan?[edit]

In paragraph three it says that Aztecs consumed an impressive variety of animals, and then under the section food, paragraph one it is said that they were mostly vegetarian? Which is it? What percentage of the diet was derived from plants, and, what percentage is required to literally be vegetarian? If you eat any animal meat at all does that not preclude the description vegetarian? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Their diet was mostly vegetarian, although the elite had more meat than the poor. Your diet can be mainly vegetarian without you being a vegetarian. But the article really doesn't make this clear at all, especially the lead. See [3], [4], [5] and [6]. Dougweller (talk) 13:15, 7 March 2012 (UTC)


I'm not going to nominate this article for a GAR at this point, but it is in serious need of in-line citations. Tezero (talk) 18:30, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Cannibalism redux[edit]

A good source discussing this is here] Aztec Archaeology and Ethnohistory By Frances F. Berdan. It discusses their beliefs but also the ideas of people who see it as a result of protein deficiency. Arguing, by the way, that this wasn't actually a problem - as our article points out. Maize/bean alone probably being sufficient. Incidences of cannibalism seem to also coincide with harvests. Doug Weller talk 10:58, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Lack of Domesticated Animals for Meat leads to Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice[edit]

The Aztecs lacked domestic animals, such as chickens, sheep or goats, cows, and pigs for meat, so they resorted to cannibalism and used human sacrifice as justification. In the Old World, sacrifice is usually done with goats, cows, or chickens, and the lack of such animals means humans were used instead, as happened in Aztec society.-- (talk) 05:55, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Read the article, read the source just above. They had plenty of protein. Doug Weller talk 07:19, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
You can get protein from beans and tofu, so animal meat has characteristics that satisfy the mind, other than being simply protein. -- (talk) 14:54, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Maybe, but we go by what the sources say, not our opinions. Doug Weller talk 16:22, 3 February 2016 (UTC)


Hello! I'm an international student enrolled in history class. One of the projects that I have to do is to add some information about the Aztec cuisine. My topic is Cacao in symbol and ritual. Please be good to me! (AndreaM239 (talk) 22:10, 22 May 2017 (UTC)).