According to Mayan legend, tortillas were invented by a peasant for his hungry king in ancient times. The first tortillas discovered, which date back to approximately 10,000 BC, were made of native maize with dried kernel. The Aztecs used a lot of maize, both eaten straight from the cob and in recipes. They ground the maize, and used the cornmeal to make a dough called masa.
Excavations in the “Valle de Tehuacan” in the state of Puebla, Mexico have revealed the use around 3000 BC of the basic cereal, a small, wild cob, eaten by native people.
On April, 22 1519, Spaniards led by Hernan Cortes, also known as Hernando Cortez, arrived in what is now Mexico. They found that the inhabitants (Aztecs and other native Mexican peoples) made flat maize bread. The native Nahuatl name for this was tlaxcalli.
This bread made from maize was later given the name tortilla (little cake) by the Spanish. In parts of southern Spain, the origin of many of the Spaniards conquering America, a tortilla or tortillita is a crisp, thin, circular, fried cake made of chickpea meal. These tortillas, which apparently have their roots in southern Spain’s Arabic heritage, look strikingly similar to the fried maize tortilla (or tostada).
To meet the needs of big cities and the modern lifestyle, the traditional process was mechanized to increase production of tortillas. In the 1940s and 1950s, one of the first widespread uses of small gas engines and electric motors was to power wet grain grinders for making masa. A hand press or hand patting were still used to form it into tortillas, but by the 1960s, small scale tortilla making machines could produce cooked tortillas every two seconds.
This recipe comes from my Cousin Janet in West Virginia!
1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
* water as called for on back of seasoning packet
3 large flour tortillas (8-inch size)
1/2 cup Salsa Con Queso
1 1/2-2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
Brown and crumble ground beef. Drain excess grease.
Add in taco seasoning and water (following directions on back of seasoning packet).
Once the taco meat is ready, turn off heat and add in 1/2 cup salsa con queso.
Give it a good stir until thoroughly combined.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Spray an 8-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Layer the bottom of the pan with a flour tortilla.
Now add about 1/3 of the ground beef taco filling on the the first layer.
Then add 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
Continue until you are done with all the layers: another tortilla, more taco mixture, more cheese.
Bake at 350F degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
Until cheese is melted and edges are slightly golden brown.
Allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
Then slice and serve.
I like mine with some sour cream and diced tomatoes on top.