Mexican tortas are convenient, filling, and simply delicious. But who invented them? Today we dive into the history of this essential part of Mexico’s street food culture.
Who Invented Tortas?
Tortas are the Mexican version of what is called sub or hoagie in the United States.
The most important difference between tortas and subs is the bread: Mexican tortas are made with savory white bread called telera, although in some parts of the country you can also find tortas made with bolillo.
Telera is softer and flat in shape, while bolillo is rounder and the outer crust is usually crunchier.
As with other similar dishes, tortas seem such a common-sense solution that it’s hard to determine who came up with the idea first.
Historical evidence suggests that tortas were created sometime during the second half of the 1800s. For example, the first written mention of tortas is in a newspaper from 1864.
An Essential Part of Mexican Culture
Most present-day Mexicans would scratch their heads at those early tortas that were often filled with sardines and seasoned with oil.
And while those two ingredients fell into disuse over time, tortas became an instant hit. Mexico was leaving behind its colonial period and trying to grow into a modern country. Cities were growing and industry was expanding. Tortas were the perfect solution for those who spend most of their day on the go.
Tortas would go on to become an essential part of Mexican culture, and not only from a culinary point of view. For example, tortas were one of the running gags on the popular show El Chavo del Ocho because they were the favorite food of the main character.
We can’t say with certainty who invented tortas. Like the best Mexican dishes, they were a collective creation, the result of the work of many generations of Mexicans and their love for great food.
Hungry for More Facts About Mexican Food
We love all the curious facts that surround authentic Mexican food. If you are hungry for more stories, then check out these previous posts:
- 8 Interesting facts about tacos
- What is the best taco topping?
- 5 Words Mexicans use to talk about food
- Why are refried beans called like that?
- Why Are chili peppers so important in Mexican cuisine
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