Yes, the machine is taking over -- even in the back streets of Mexico City and in the making of the senor's staple diet, the tortilla.
Yes, the machine is taking over -- even in the back streets of Mexico City and in the making of the senor's staple diet, the tortilla. Traditionally, the famous (but often indigestible) tortilla has been made by hand. In little shops and on the sidewalks, Mexican woman have slapped the corn-meal dough called masa on to a wood-burning grill, the bracero. Within a minute or so, a piping hot tortilla has awaited the eager customer.
Now there is an automatic tortilla maker -- a machine that grinds the corn, rolls the dough, cuts it into the required, round, pancake shape, -- all untouched by hand. Out of the other end comes a procession of hot tortillas.
There are five of these machines in Mexico City already and, if the experiment proves a success, the whole of the city's tortilla industry is likely to be mechanised.
The Mexican Government points to the lower price (35 centavos), to its hygienic aspect. But the older Mexicans, proud of their back street tortilla tradition, say they don't taste as good. Lack (perhaps in more ways than one) that personal touch...