Tortillas de Harina? …Maíz!

When I was younger, I used to prefer flour tortillas; I only ate corn when we ran out of flour. My cousins and I would warm up a tortilla and just eat it plain; this is something I crave sometimes, actually, but now I usually do it with corn tortillas and a little salt or butter. Anyway, when I was in high school, my Abuelita came to visit and she was making food. When she asked me whether I wanted a corn or flour tortilla, my Tia laughed and said to give me a flour tortilla because I’m American. My Tia is American too (and was eating a flour tortilla), but for some reason since then I started shifting away from the flour and toward the corn. Now, I have lots of tortillas in my refrigerator, but they’re all corn.

The following is an excerpt from Tortillas: A Cultural History, by Paula E. Morton:

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I rarely see my Abuelita eat tortillas de harina; I think it’s only been when she’s visiting and my cousins run out of corn. I think, like Cortes, my Abuela is unimpressed with tortillas de harina.

One of my friends who, despite me explaining it a couple times, has a lot of difficulty determining the distinctions between SpanishLatin, Mexican, etc. Anyway, she’s not from a diverse area and is also extremely well-meaning so I don’t feel obligated to hold it against her. She’s so sweet and, in her support of me taking this class, she went to a restaurant called Bocadillo and bought me food. The restaurant has “Spanish inspired” cuisine; it had a lot of Tapas (which is not a Mexican thing).

She brought me Pan con Tomate and Churros. The churros were very good despite the cinnamon sugar being somewhere in the corner of the box instead of coating the warm, flaky, sticks of yummines. The churro was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside; it was delicious! The Pan con Tomate was interesting. As soon as I saw it, I knew it wasn’t Mexican. Maybe it’s just my experiences with Mexican food, but I’ve rarely seen bread involved, and never as the focal point of a dish. Pan Dulce or Bolillo bread are what I have the most experience with, and they’re very different from this Tapas dish. The bread for the Pan con Tomate was artisinal, the crust was flaky and crisp while the inside part of the bread was soft and doughy. It was good but the flavors were very simple–literally bread and tomato with little else. I think a Mexican equivalent might be pico de gallo and tortilla chips but there’s much more flavor in pico de gallo than was on the Pan de Tomate.

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