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Among the products that Mexico has given the world are avocados, vanilla, cacao, maize, tomatoes, chili peppers, chewing gum, and poinsettias.

Avocados were first grown in Mexico.  Today the United States is the leading producer of avocados followed by Mexico.  Avocados are highly nutritious.  They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and oils.  An average tree grows 30-40 feet tall.  They have spreading branches with dark green leaves and small greenish-white flowers.  In some varieties it is estimated that only one fruit is harvested for every 5,000 flowers.

The Mayans enjoyed chewing chiche in the 2nd century.  The natural gum comes from the latex of the Sapodilla tree and later became the main ingredient in chewing gum.  Modern chewing gum products appeared in 1869.  Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, conqueror of the Alamo, hired an inventer to develop a new form of rubber using chiche.  He was unsuccessful with the rubber, but he did produce the first modern chewing gum.

Tomatoes originated in Mexico and South America.  Spanish priests probably brought them to Europe in the mid 1500s though they were kept secret for years.  At first they were thought to be poisonous because they were related to several poisonous plants.  As a result, tomatoes did not become widely accepted until the 1800s.

Corn, also called maize, is a plant whose food value and wide variety of uses makes it the second most important crop in the world after wheat.  Corn was first used for food about 10,000 years ago by Indians living in what is now Mexico.  About 5000 B.C. they learned how to grow corn for themselves.  The basis of Mexican cooking today is corn made tortillas.  They are small, flat, circular pancakes which are used in many typical Mexican dishes.  Tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tostadas are all forms of tortillas.

1.  If there are 15,000 trees in an avocado grove, and each has 20,000 flowers, how many fruit would you expect to be harvested?

2.  Following is a restaurant's recipe for guacamole--a traditional dip often eaten with chips.  This recipe must be doubled for a typical Saturday night.  Find the cost of the guacamole.  Don't forget to double the recipe first.
15 avocados
$1.49 each
1 large onion (1.5 lb.)
$.89 lb.
3 cloves garlic
$.59 a head (at least 8 cloves)
2 tomatoes (1 lb.)
$1.99 lb.
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese
$1.89 for 8 oz.
5 green chilis (.5 lb.)
$1.59 lb.
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
3 / $1.00

3.Chicklets are popular all over Mexico.  Sometimes they are even given as change.  Little children can be found selling chiclets on every street corner.  If 3 chiclets cost 1 peso, about how many chiclets would you get for a U.S. dollar ($1 = 9.07 pesos).  At this rate, how much would a gross of chiclets cost in pesos?  in dollars?

4.  Farmer Guzman is a tomato farmer.  The plants he uses yield an average of 13 lb. per plant.  He needs to grow at least 39,000 lb. of tomatoes.  How many plants does he need?  If it takes him and his workers 5 days a week for 4 weeks to pick them all, how many pounds do they pick a day?

5.The Sanchez family uses 1500 lb of flour a year which they use in some form of tortilla every day.  1/3 of it is used to make quesadillas because Mrs. Sanchez can put almost anything in these.  They also eat them for snacks.  1/4 is used for tostadas which she fills with beans, chicken, or beef.  Then she fries and covers them with cheese and salsa.  1/5 is used for tacos which are stuffed with beef, pork, or chicken.  The rest is used for enchiladas which are fried tacos with sauce.  Find how many pounds are used for each.

Mexican Firsts Solutions

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