‘Tortilla movement’ aiming for the restoration of what was Mexico’s iconic food

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The early Mexican morning gives ways to tortilla making. The kitchen of Molino El Pujol is the site for many delicious tortillas to partake for breakfast. The tortilla machine is loaded with lime-treated corn mash that will be cut apart and baked into tortilla.

Sadly, many chefs have noted that modern advancements have not been merciful on the industry.

The “Pujol” restaurant in Mexico City is owned by famous chef Enrique Olvera and is rated highly among the world’s restaurants. This is all part of his advocacy to help the local farmers and propel the tortilla movement intent on popularizing authentic tortillas.

The nostalgia was quite strong, as noted by agronomist Amado Ramírez. Children would often wait for their grandmothers to give them the hot corn discs to partake together. This remains a common sight; unfortunately, the modern world has gradually seen this less and less.

The issue of producing tortillas today lies in how processed the corn has become. Tortillas are made of corn, water, and lime. Corn is soaked in lime and cooked there through the nixtamal process until it produces the mush to create the delicacy.

The addition of preservatives and use of GMO corn over naturally domesticated crops caused the dish to lack authenticity.

The movement to restore the tortilla was helped by the Tortilla Foundation and its director Rafael Mier. They see how fundamental the dish is to Mexican culture and identity, as the dish was the original source of energy until the arrival of wheat bread from Europe.

The Alliance for Our Tortilla has emphasized the importance of producing good tortillas by following through the recipe by not skipping the nixtamal process that helps break down the indigestible parts of the corn kennel and release its nutrients.

One barrier of entry for consumers though is the price of the dish in restaurants like Molino El Pujol. At 60 Mexican pesos (or roughly $3) per kilogram, they are more expensive than those in local shops that use more modern methods and ingredients.

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