Quesadilla Case Essay

The quesadilla was first discovered in Mexico in the late 1500’s. The corn tortilla was originally discovered and created by the Native Americans (123 Long). In the 1500’s and early 1600’s the Spanish added to the quesadilla by putting pork, beef, chicken, and other ingredients into the corn tortilla.

In most regions, especially the central region of Mexico, a quesadilla is a circle of uncooked corn masa folded in half and filled with cheese, then warmed up until the cheese has melted.

However, variations include the use of wheat flour tortillas, especially in the northeast part of Mexico, which are more like cheese tacos found in the United States (“Mexican Food”). Wheat dough is used in place of corn masa in pastes, a preparation typical of the Mexican city of Pachuca, Hidalgo. El Salvador also has its version of the quesadilla. Unlike its Mexican counterpart, the Salvadoran quesadilla is a dense bread dessert that is usually eaten with coffee.

The ingredients include flour, milk, eggs, butter, sour cream, sugar, and Parmesan cheese (62 Pilcher).

The ingredients are mixed to create a batter and then baked in a shallow pan in the oven for about 30 minutes. This type of quesadilla is also common in Guatemala and southern Mexico states like Chiapas and Oaxaca. (48 Long). The sincronizada is a tortilla dish frequently confused with quesadillas by tourists because it is what is typically called a quesadilla in most Mexican restaurants outside of Mexico. Sincronizadas are made with a flour tortilla covered with cheese and then covered with another flour tortilla. And usually other ingredients like roasted beef, ham, or chorizo are used, just like in regular quesadillas.

The early natives of Mexico did not have ovens, instead they heated food over and open fire, using cast iron skillets and ceramic ware. Another method was steaming (38 Pilcher). They would suspend meat wrapped in cactus or banana leaves, over boiling water in a deep pit. Frying was also a popular method. They used a metate y mano, which is a large tool made of lava rock or stone that they would use as a grinding stone or the molcaiete, which was smaller, to grind and smash ingredients (100 Long). The molcaiete, or mortar and pestle, is a small bowl shaped container that can be made of stone, pottery, hard wood or marble, and the pestle is baseball bat shaped.

The quesadilla as a food has changed and evolved over many years as people experimented with different variations of it. Depending on someones culture, the way the quesadilla is made can vary (“Mexican Food”). The true quesadilla is made with masa dough. Masa is prepared from maize blanco that is dried with limewater, after it is ground into a fine cornmeal. “This was passed down from the Mayans, Aztecs and a few other cultures of the prehistoric Americas.

The purist prepares the quesadilla as a turnover and differentiate it from the sincronizada, which is made with two flour tortillas with the cheese in between. Traditionally Chihuahua cheese is used, which is a white, mild, Mexican cheese, similar to a Monterey Jack” (“Mexican Food”). In the 15th century, when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World, the thin, flatbread was already a perfected staple of the Mesoamerican people. The Spanish gave the name quesadilla to the delicious dish. The name quesadilla translates to “little cheesy thing” which was a name given by the Spanish.

As one can tell, the quesadilla has evolved and changed within the 400 years since it has been created. Many different cultures contributed to this and made the quesadilla what it is today. From baking over a hot fire to frying there are many ways to make a quesadilla, and this has evolved and varied in todays modern kitchens and restaurants. As the years go by, the quesadilla is still popular and made in kitchens everyday!

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