In class, we talked about corn Tortilla’s and how they were made in the past. My great grandmother’s from both of my parent sides would actually plant and do everything needed to get a tortilla.
So when they could, my great grandmothers would actually go to the field and see if the corns they cultivated were properly grown. If they were then they would let the corn out to dry for 15 days or up to a month depending on the corn. Then take off the seeds that could be used to replant and also so it wouldn’t be in the masa.
After they had the corn, they would take it back to their house and boil it for a short amount of time. so it would be partially cooked. Then they would leave the corn soaked in lime for a day. This part of the process is known as Nixtamalization. The following day they would wash the corn with water and take it to a Molino (a place that could grind the corn) or grind it a home. After the grinding process, the corn would turn into Masa, ready to be made into a Tortilla or Tamale.
To cook the tortilla, my great grandmothers would have to go cook it on a Ornia. A Ornia is a stove made out of clay with a big comal on top. The clay itself would be found in the river and would be a blue-green color. They would heat up the comal with firewood and then put the tortilla to cook on it.
I have a couple times in my life been part of the grinding process to make Masa and cooking on the Ornia. For it is still a common process in some parts of Honduras and my family wanted to show me how different the flavoring of Tortillas made from instant Masa is from the one that takes more than a couple of days to accomplish especially when its fresh off the Colma.
The picture below is one I took after buying tortillas from a group of ladies who still does Tortilla’s the old school way.