Oh, tortillas, how we take thee for granted! Without you, our tacos and burritos would just be a carbless mess. You are the hammock to our tacos, the blanket to our enchiladas, the Snuggie® to our burritos and the spoon to our butter. You’re also the staple of almost all Fuzzy’s Taco Shop menu items, and you deserve your share of the spotlight.
For most of us, tortillas have always been around. They’re just a part of the Tex-Mex experience. But where did they come from?
Historians, who apparently have taken a special interest in tortillas, believe tortillas date back as far as 10,000 B.C. (We’re guessing they weren’t sold in plastic bags until sometime in recent A.D., however.)
When the Spanish were in search of gold in Meso-America in 1519, they came across the Aztecs and were exposed to many of their foods and traditions. The term “tortilla” originated from a name given by the Spaniards to the unleavened flat bread found among the Aztecs of Mexico in the 16th century. The word “tortilla” comes from the Spanish word “torta,” which translates to “round cake.” So now you know.
Corn was the main ingredient of the Aztec diet. It provided a healthy dose of starch, energy, protein and fat. While corn was often enjoyed on the cob, it was generally stored dry and ground into corn meal and eventually made into “masa” or corn dough. The natives eventually improved upon their method and learned to soak the corn kernels in a lime solution, which would remove the corn skin. This made masa production easier, giving them more time for whatever Aztecs did for leisure (see: human sacrifice).
This ancient method of making tortillas was used throughout history, with the color of the tortilla depending on the color of the corn. The masa was patted down from ball form into a thin pancake, placed on a hot griddle and cooked to perfection.
Is anyone else getting hungry?
Nowadays, machines stamp out tortillas, making them uniform in size, though no less tasty. And your options now include corn and flour, both of which can be found in ample supply at your nearest Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.
So come on by and remember why tortillas make the world go round.