Monday, January 21, 2008


For dinner, Nathalie and I decided to make fajitas/burritos/tacos depending upon how the tortilla would fold up and how the meat and veggies were going to stay in it. You know how it is, your taco turns into taco salad sometimes.

Well, for no other reason than sheer curiosity, I decided to try my hand at making homemade corn tortillas. So along with a package of pre-made tortillas (as backup in case my tortilla making efforts go sour), I also bought a bag of corn flour.

I followed the simple instructions on the bag and within 10 minutes I was looking at a fairly decent looking tortilla. I took a bite and it blew me away. Like dyslexic Adam and Eve, I took my first tortilla and ran over to Nathalie so she could have a bite. She's not a big fan of corn tortillas, but I was acting like we won the lottery, so she took a bite.

Nathalie and I looked at each other and realized that the tortillas we've been buying from the store just simply sucked. We thought they were good, but we might as well been making tacos and fajitas out of paper plates. These freshly made corn tortillas were crispy, but chewy, and had a light flavor with a hint of corn. We looked at the bag of store bought corn and flour tortillas. There was no going back to that.

I've been trying to think of the best way to describe it, but I can't. It's something akin to the first time I had real, patiently and properly slow-smoked Texas brisket. It was phenomenal and it completely changed my perception of barbecue.

Or this is kind of like the difference between a steak at a steakhouse, and a steak from Applebee's. I thought steaks from Outback were good, then I had my eyes opened by a properly aged and prepared steak.

Not only was it disgustingly simple and ridiculously easy to make, the taste of the freshly made tortillas were absolutely incredible. Now I understand why tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, etc, etc all contain the humble tortilla: Because a properly made tortilla tastes like a gift from God.

I used to laugh and question as to why every Mexican dish seems to contain some permutation of the tortilla. But now I see why. Hell, if I had something that tasted this good, I'd put it in every food I could think of as well.

How can something so simple as corn, water, and salt produce something so frickin' scrumptious? That's the 8th wonder of the world right there.

So open up a new browser, go Google tortilla making, and spend a measly $3 on a bag of corn flour (not corn meal, huge difference) on the way home today and try it yourself. You don't even need a tortilla press or a rolling pin. I squashed mine with a plate and rolled it out with a lager glass (which was then later used to hold a beer).

We're never eating store bought corn tortillas ever again. Neither should you.