A History of Mexican Tortillas

Tortillas got its name from the Spaniards. The word “tortillas” comes from the Spanish word “torta” with the meaning being round cake. Tortillas are eaten everyday not just in Mexico but also in America. Americans put just about anything they can in the tortilla from meat and beans to apples and brown sugar. Ever try peanut butter and jelly in a tortilla? Many eat it that way; also, the tortillas are used with hot dogs, casseroles, and sandwiches.

Tortillas have been used for thousands of years but without the exotic, imaginative flavors and fillings of today.

Aztecs made tortillas more than 10,000 years before Christ. Aztecs ate a lot of corn, some right from the cob, and others they would save and use later. They would ground it into corn meal and later make into masa, which is corn dough. The masa is added with water. If the water is not the right temperature, the consistency will not be enough to make the tortilla. Once the masa is ready, it is placed in a ball size in the maker’s hands. It takes awhile to go through the process of making the masa flat. It is patted into what looks like a think pancake. Once it is the right size, it is placed on a hot griddle. It does not take long to cook.

Today the tortilla is still made with the same ingredients. Majority of them are made in factories with machines because they are in high demand. They come in many flavors. Anyone can still make them from scratch if they prefer. You can find tortillas in a variety of Mexican foods. Tacos use them as the shell. Enchiladas consist of the tortilla being filled and then rolled, afterwards being cooked. Quesadillas use tortillas as turnovers, which are filled and then fried.

Did you know that tortillas are not just for eating? “Tortilla art” is when tortillas are used as a canvas. They are baked before being covered with acrylic. Then they are painted. Tortilla art represents the culture of Latino artists.

Tortilla chips are also made from tortillas. The tortilla is fried after being cut into wedges. The ingredients in corn tortillas are corn, salt, water, and vegetable oil. These tortilla chips first gained popularity in the 1940s in Los Angeles, California. These chips were mass-produced there but are still known as Mexican food.

Americans like to use tortillas in various dishes. They are commonly used in burritos, which originated in northern Mexico many years ago. Many people from the north of Mexico and the Native Mexicans in the southwestern United States eat tortillas as a food staple. Many restaurants use flour tortillas in a variety of non-Mexican and Mexican recipes. Nearly every grocery store has tortillas and you can also make homemade tortillas and experiment with the ingredients and fillings.

There are plenty of tortilla recipes available if you fancy making your own tortillas and creating some wonderful fillings!

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