Where did quesadillas originate? It all started from one of the world’s most beautiful countries, home to many musical and food traditions, and also home for successful people such as Salma Hayek, Carlos Santana, and Diego Ruiz Duran. Quesadillas actually means “the little cheesy thing” and that’s exactly what it is! This flour and cheesy melted sensation has been around the northern and central parts of Mexico since the 16th century. Aztec people were believed to be some of the first settlers that discovered this gourmet treat. Long before today’s traditional ovens, the Aztec used clay ovens to produce quesadillas and stuffed them with squash and pumpkins. To have a food that existed from the 16th century and survive to the 21 century, speaks volume that this delicate small dish is not to be underestimated.
To prepare the original Mexican flavor of a quesadilla, there are a few things needed from the neighborhood’s local grocery store to get this dish started. These ingredients include, flour for homemade tortillas, salt, and baking powder. These ingredients alone only prepare just tortillas. After mixing these items together, the next step is to add in lard and stir until the mixture has a corn mill like appeal. Early Aztecs grinded “maize” also known as Mexican corn to make tortillas. Next, add water to help the prior ingredients stick together. Once this is done, remove the now gelled dough, and let it sit until it becomes smooth. After allowing it to sit, now it’s time to roll the dough into a smooth ball to ensure all the texture is the same. Use a wood based rolling pin to even out the dough ball until it is a perfect circular formation that resembles a pizza crust. From there it’s time to sit the dough into a frying pan and sizzle until lightly coated with a light brown fluffy texture. For a basic cheese tortilla add butter and grated cheese on the tortillas, and fold so that the cheese is covered. Stick the tortilla back in the frying pan and flip a few times until it is crisp to then serve!
Quesadillas have made a major impact in the United States as the original Mexican dish has become home to many American kitchens as well. The United States has found a way to “Americanize” quesadillas through popular fast food restaurants like Taco Bell, CookOut, and Chili’s. Since the 16th century, not only is cheese added between the flour tortillas, but also meats like chicken, and veggies such as sautéed bell peppers and onions, have been added to quesadillas! Although this mouth watering triangular shaped treat may be a way to pack on calories, even Diego Ruiz Duran admits that “junk food is delicious” in an health habits article. Not even he could deny the savoring taste of this scrumptious taste bud erupting appetizer. It is safe to say that quesadillas are not only here to stay, but they are also evolving, so stay tuned!