Breaking down bread
The story of a Mexican staple

Developed by the Mesoamericans, the tortilla, a thin corn-based bread, has been a staple in the Mexican diet for more than 400 years. Early tortillas took hours to make but by the 1960s tortilla-making machines could churn out hot, steaming tortillas every two seconds. Today they remain a fixture, modern Mexican’s will consume tortillas at at least two meals every day.

Historically tortillas were made from traditional varieties of corn called criollo. Guadalupe Hernandez shows one such variety, a large-grained corn he grows that is bought for putting in traditional soups like pozole.