Tortillas were made as early as 10,000 BC and were the principal food of the Aztecs.
Wheat wasn’t grown in the Americas prior to Spanish contact, so traditionally the Aztecs used maize, or corn. Women spent hours grinding corn on a metate, a sloping oblong stone that’s one of the oldest domestic tools in the Americas — then rolling a cylindrical handheld stone across the stone to crush the kernels. The ground corn, which could be made from white, yellow or blue (black) maize, was then cooked in a lime and water solution.
Before the Spanish came to the Americas, bringing wheat and religion, the Otomí in Guanajuato painted ceremonial tortilla with images associated with their gods. For “paint,” they used liquid from boiled honeysuckle flowers to make their favorite color, purple, as well as the nopal plant for shades of red. After the occupation, the Otomí included Catholic patron saints in their tortilla motifs.