The History of the Tortilla Chip
The Spaniards first brought the word tortilla (from torta, “cake”) to Mexico; the Mexicans, in turn, used it to describe their flat corn and flour cakes. The bread staple of the Mexican diet, all tortillas were originally made from the pulp of ground corn, the native grain of the New World. When the Spanish brought wheat to the New World, white flour tortillas became prevalent. Corn tortillas, now mostly machine-made, still hold the highest nutritional value. Cut into wedges and deep fried, these flat cakes became tortilla chips. After tortilla products were first introduced in the United States by Latin Americans living in the southwestern states, the popularity of new food item spread rapidly. Tortilla chips can come in many different sizes and shapes, such as triangles, rounds, and rectangular strips. The seasonings of tortilla chips can vary greatly, and they can be eaten with a variety of salsas and toppings.