Let’s talk about tortillas. Not the white bread, commercial variety but the real deal- la tortilla auténtica. Tortilla-making goes way back, in fact archaeologists think tortillas may be have been around as far back as 10,000 BC. But it was the Spanish, Hernán Cortéz to be exact, who gave the tasty little flat breads their name. When Cortéz and his conquistadors arrived in what is now Mexico in early 1519, they got their first taste of bread made with maize and called it “little round cakes” or tortillas. Mexico never lost its taste for the tortilla, an essential part of the Aztec diet which to this day is eaten everyday all over the country with everything from meat and beans to apples and brown sugar. Here are two videos from the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio and Saveur Magazine on preparing the masa for traditional corn tortillas in Puebla.
Wheat tortillas didn’t appear until later and by some standards aren’t as truly Mexican as tortillas made with ground corn. Still, it’s worth checking out this video, despite the wonky translations.