The Guatemalan Tortilla

Tortillas are a central component to eating in Guatemala. At every meal pipping hot tortillas are served alongside grilled meats or used to dip in stews or simply as an accompaniment to beans.

 Tortillas are so much more than a form of nourishment here in Guatemala. Corn is the foundation of the Mayan diet and culture. In the Mayan creation story, it is believed that man was formed from maize. The myth is such that when the gods decided to create man they tried various mediums like wood and clay; however, corn proved to be the perfect material for fashioning man.

Maize was in fact domesticated over 10,00 years ago and is now the third most popular plant in the world, supplying 20% of the world’s calories. Maize is one of the few plants that does not reseed itself and requires humans to plant it. The Maya also understood that maize must be cooked with lime (food-grade calcium hydroxide) in order to increase the plant’s nutritional value as well as make for easier digestion.

Not only are Guatemalan corn tortillas wonderfully delicious and doughy (unlike the thin Mexican tortillas) but they are often times the only food source for many rural families. It is hard to imagine a Guatemala without the necessary tortilla.