VIDEO: The History of the Tortilla in Mexico


Tortillas are a fundamental element in Mexican gastronomy.

We will also discover that its history is intrinsically linked to the culture and tradition of this country.

Throughout this article, we will explore how the tortilla has evolved over the centuries.

From its pre-Hispanic origin to becoming an iconic food of contemporary Mexican cuisine.

Origins of the Tortilla

The history of the tortilla in Mexico dates back to pre-Columbian times.

The ancient inhabitants of Mesoamerica, such as the Aztecs and the Mayans, already prepared tortillas from corn, one of the most important crops in the region.

Corn was a staple in their diet and played a crucial role in their livelihood.

The Nixtamalization Process

One of the key advances in the history of the tortilla was the discovery of nixtamalization.

This process involves cooking and soaking corn in an alkaline solution, usually lime or wood ash, to soften it and make it easier to grind.

Nixtamalization not only made corn easier to work, but also increased its nutritional value by releasing essential nutrients and amino acids.

The Tortilla in the Pre-Hispanic Era

During the pre-Hispanic era, tortillas were cooked on clay or stone comales, which were plates heated over a fire.

Women played a crucial role in the production of tortillas, as they were in charge of preparing the dough and cooking them.

Tortillas were served in different shapes and sizes, and were often used as a utensil to hold and eat other foods, such as pozole or mole.

Tortillas in Mexican Culture

The Aztecs, one of the most influential civilizations in Mesoamerica, had a deep respect for corn and tortillas.

They believed that the gods had created human beings from corn dough, which underlines the spiritual importance of this food in their culture.

Additionally, tortillas were used as offerings in religious ceremonies and rituals.

The Influence of the Spanish Conquest

The arrival of the Spanish to Mexico in the 16th century had a significant impact on the Mexican diet and, therefore, on the history of the tortilla.

The Spanish introduced new ingredients, such as wheat, beef and pork, as well as different cooking techniques.

This led to the diversification of Mexican cuisine and the creation of new dishes.

The Fusion of Kitchens

The fusion of indigenous and Spanish cuisines led to the creation of the “flour tortilla” or “wheat tortilla,” which was prepared with wheat dough instead of corn.

This variant became an important element in the cuisine of northern Mexico and was used to make burritos, quesadillas and other dishes.

The Industrial Revolution and the Tortilla

During the 19th century, the introduction of machinery and industrialization changed the way tortillas were produced.

Grinding and kneading machines allowed for faster and more efficient production, which in turn made tortillas more accessible to the general population.

The Rise of Tortillerias

Tortillerias became a common business in Mexican cities, and tortillas were sold in markets and stores throughout the country.

Despite these technological advances, many rural communities continued to produce tortillas in a traditional way, thus preserving their ancestral customs.

La Tortilla Today

Today, the tortilla remains an essential food in the Mexican diet.

It is consumed in various ways, either as an accompaniment to tacos, enchiladas or as a base for dishes such as tostadas and chalupas.

Corn and flour tortillas are equally popular throughout the country, and each has its place in the rich Mexican culinary tradition.

The Tortilla as a Symbol of Identity

The tortilla is not only a food in Mexico, but also a symbol of cultural identity.

Its importance is reflected in the popular phrase: “You are in the tortillería, what do you want?” This expression underlines the centrality of tortillas in everyday life and Mexican food.

The Future of Tortilla in Mexico

As the world moves towards greater environmental and nutritional awareness, the tortilla industry in Mexico has also begun to adapt.

Increasingly, ways are being sought to produce tortillas in a more sustainable and healthy way.

This includes the use of traditional nixtamalization techniques and the promotion of whole wheat tortillas.

La Tortilla as Ambassador of Mexican Food

The tortilla is not only a beloved food in Mexico, but it has also become an ambassador of the rich and diverse Mexican cuisine around the world.

As more people discover and appreciate the authentic flavors of the tortilla, its legacy continues to grow.

In conclusion, the history of the tortilla in Mexico is a testimony to the cultural and culinary richness of this country.

From its humble origins in pre-Hispanic civilizations to its presence on the tables of millions of people today, the tortilla is much more than just a food.

It is a symbol of identity and tradition that lasts throughout the centuries. Its evolution and adaptation throughout history

They show the ability of gastronomy to reflect the history and culture of a nation.