Tortillas From Scratch
Making Tortillas With Maria Luisa
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Second, we boil the kernels in water mixed with cal (calcium carbonate) for at least one hour. This softens the kernels and will create a better texture for holding together the grounded corn. After this we rinse through the boiled kernels and fill two corterones (buckets) to take to the molino. There are no men at the molino. It is always a job for the women and sometimes their children.


Mixing the corn with "cal" and rinsing it.

Maria arriving at the"molino".

Third, upon arriving at the molino, I find many other women waiting in line, as it opens by 7:00 a.m. every day and remains open for only three hours. It costs a lot of money to buy a molino, yet the price to grind one cuarterone is very cheap. The average number of women that come into the molino is 100 and they each bring about three cuarterones. The molino uses electricity and sometimes we do not receive electric power in Ocampo, which is our district city. Once the molino was not able to grind corn for 15 days. Most of us had to buy tortillas in the stores or tortilleria (little tortilla shops) that are already processed from big factories outside of Ocampo. My family prefers fresh tortillas made at home!

Fourth, the lady at the molino takes each bucket from the order they are placed on the counter, and empties the kernels into the top basin. She then opens a small pipe for water and allows this to mix with the corn as it feeds down into the internal blades. She continues to guide the whole kernels into the molino and eventually receives masa (dough) in the bottom basin. Immediately she feeds in the next cuartarone as the molino always needs to be grinding kernels,not to mention she also has a lot of hungry families waiting for their tortillas. Two of these cuartarones will serve one middle-sized family for one week. This work is sometimes painful for her hands as she is constantly working with the cold water and cold kernels just before working with the hot masa, kneading it over and over into a big firm ball. Her job can be very tiring. Especially when it is time to clean the molino. This has to be done everyday with one large and one fine brush with water.

Emptying the kernels into the "molino," adding water, receiving and kneading the product "masa."


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