Tortillas remain most popular ethnic bread
By Olivia Jones
Currituck Cooperative Extension
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Mexican and southwestern cuisine has become a staple in most American households. We even recognize “Taco Tuesday” where families everywhere enjoy this delicious meal, and restaurants serve tacos for only a dollar.
The sales of tortillas speak to the popularity of this cuisine in America. In 2014 the Tortilla Industry Association reported that in the U.S. sales were more than $12 billion. In 2010 tortillas even outsold white bread. It is, in fact, the most popular ethnic bread in the nation, surpassing bagels, English muffins and pita bread. Our love for tortillas is well established.
So what is a tortilla? The name tortilla comes from the Spanish word “torta” which means “round cake.” In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened, flat bread made of finely ground maize (corn). According to Mayan legend, the first tortilla was made approximately 10,000 years before Christ and was made with the dried kernels of native corn. It was not until wheat flour was brought to the New World from Spain that we began using flour to make tortillas. The flour tortilla became a unique feature of the territory north of Mexico and the Texas frontier.