A staple of the Mexican diet. The can be used for a number of things…
* as a spoon. most people do not use utensils (like Americans would, the do have and use utensils), but fold a portion of the tortilla over to make a a scoop to pick up rice, beans, or what have you.
*a napkin. likewise having salsa wrapped up in tortillas, keeps the fingers fairly clean. (again, napkins are used, but not as frequently as your average American would use them)
* the price. corn s everywhere here, so tortillas are inexpensive. They also make a meal go a lot further. For example, most tortillas hold less meat than the portion we would serve for the main course of the meal.
In the mountains where Rafa and I first met, the woman make tortillas by hand. Every.single.day. Sometimes two or three times a day. I learned how to do this as well, simply because I was there, and wanted to pass time with those ladies. So pounding away we went. There they also say that once a girl learns how to make tortillas she is then ready to get married….little did they know ;)
Where we live now, there are machines that make tortillas everyday and people buy them. They are better than most corn tortillas I have had in the States, but still it is just not the same as the handmade ones in the mountains. Being there we both got pretty spoiled. But handmade tortillas are a TON of work, starting with the corn, cooking it with cal, grinding it, and more, just to make the dough. I just could not see spending all that time to make them everyday, when we can buy a kilo for 7 pesos (over two pounds for under 60 cents).
She has lost her sight, but you will not find her on the street corner asking for money. Oh no. She makes handmade tortillas everyday and sells them for 9 pesos a kilo (about 8 cents more a pound) Her tortillas are bigger, taste SO much better, and last better too if we have some leftover. I carry my napkin to her door everyday, knock, buy my freshly made 1/2 kilo of tortilla and walk back to our apartment. After arriving, I take the top tortilla, add a pinch of salt, roll it up, and enjoy the handmade goodness.