Tortilleria Nixtamal

The Tortilleria Nixtamal logo sets under a burgeoning Aztec calendar flanked by a plume of maíz, a testament to the Mexica origins of both the tortilla and nixtamalization. Maíz, or corn, originated in Mexico and continues to be the most prevalent staple in the Mexican diet as it has been for hundreds of years, far before the Spaniards conquered the Aztec empire in the early sixteenth century. Despite attempts to convert the Mexica diet to wheat rather than corn, it is corn that continues to contribute sweet heartiness to the Mexican diet. And the Mexica people fought for corn long before the Spaniards first landed in their territory. Consistently consuming raw corn can be dangerous because of corn’s lack of niacin (aka VitaminB3); inadequate niacin in the body can potentially lead to death by a disease known as pellagra. From the recognition of these harmful affects, nixtamalization was born, evidenced in the Guatemalan border as early as 1200 – 1500 BC. Nixtamalization is a process in which dried corn kernels are soaked in an alkaline solution comprised of lime and ash, allowing the corn to absorb several minerals, including niacin, calcium, and potassium, and thereby maintain the health of those so dependent on corn in their diet.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 8.23.11 AM

One thought on “Tortilleria Nixtamal

  1. stevenpaulalvarez says:
    February 5, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Nice analysis of the image. The tortillas at this spot are famous, and some of the best in NYC. They are also fans of our class.

    You can find a lot of stuff about them online too from different bloggers who love the spot.


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