Culture

Here’s Why Mexico’s Tortillas Just Taste Better

Who doesn’t love a good tortilla? They make everything better.


They’re so popular, tortilla sales in the U.S. are expected to double by the year 2025.

JAMES STRANGE / YOUTUBE

This will put sales at a whopping $30 billion dollars, Reuters reports.

And Mexican farmers and scientists have a secret weapon to make big money: heirloom corn.


Unlike the majority of corn – a.k.a. GMO corn – found in the United States, heirloom corn is known for its rich, delicious flavor. Foodies are willing to pay more for tortillas made from these types of corn, which means the market has become more lucrative for Mexican farmers, Reuters reports. Heirloom corn can sell for as much as three times more than standard corn.

Heirloom corn is delicious and it is part of Mexico’s storied culture.

Corn Heirloom
Oregon Department Of Ag / Eamon Bohan / Flickr

According to Eco Watch, Mexico has around 59 individual types of heirloom corn, which have been cultivated for more than 12,000 years. Unlike Mexican corn, most of the corn in the United States has been genetically altered for production, and as a result, much of the flavor has been lost.

Even chefs prefer the “Mexican Gold” standard for corn.

Corn Bayless
Chiot’s Run / Rick Bayless / Instagram

As Chicago-based celebrity chef Rick Bayless told Reuters, “I live in GMO corn-country and it is the most tasteless corn in the world.” However, when it comes to corn from Mexico, Bayless said, “It has taste. That’s the whole thing.” Scientists are currently developing a certification process that will ensure that consumers who buy heirloom based products are getting this “Mexican gold.”

As demand increases, certification of heirloom corn will ensure Mexican farmers are protected.

Heirloom Farmer
@RANCHOGORDOMeghan Hess 

While many farmers have an intimate understanding of how to grow and cultivate corn, they don’t always understand the value of the corn they are making. Often times they put their trust in “coyotes” who act as salespeople for their products. If a coyote wants, they can easily exploit these farmers. Certification will give farmers information on factors like how much their corn is worth, making it harder for people to take advantage. Mexican farmers generally produce around 5 million tons of heirloom corn every year.

As farmer Octavio Tejeda told Reuters, “We’re going to keep our traditions alive and rescue the varieties of corn that are important to us.”


[H/T] Chase for tastier tortillas starts with age-old ‘Mexican gold’

READ: Mexico Wants To Teach President Trump A Lesson, But U.S. Farmers Might Suffer The Biggest Hit

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Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Things That Matter

Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the historic role of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Mexico after a former Mexican army chief was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on drug charges at the request of the DEA.

The former Mexican Defense Minister was arrested by the DEA on drug charges.

Salvador Cienfuegos Zepedas was the secretary of National Defense in the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto from 2012 to 2018. President Lopez Obrador claims that the arrest is proof of corruption from past governments.

President Lopez Obrador used the arrest to criticize the U.S. government and the DEA.

President Lopez Obrador, speaking at a press conference in Oaxaca, claimed that there is a double standard. While Cienfuegos Zepedas has been arrested by the DEA, the president claims U.S. officials have not been held accountable for trafficking arms into Mexico to track them to the cartels. According to the president, Mexican officials are being held at a higher and harsher standard than U.S. officials.

“Why is it that it’s just the people in Mexico who took part in these acts being accused or implicated, and (the DEA) aren’t criticizing themselves, reflecting on the meddling by all these agencies in Mexico,” Lopez Obrador said at the press conference. “They came into the country with complete freedom, they did whatever they wanted.”

The former defense minister’s arrest sent shockwaves through Mexico.

Cienfuegos Zepedas was the first high-ranking Mexican military official to be arrested in the U.S. with drug-related corruption. He was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport and will be facing drug and money-laundering charges. It’s been less than a year since Genaro Garcia Luna was charged with taking bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

President Lopez Obrador wants to protect the military’s reputation.

Lopez Obrador also said he hopes that the armed forces aren’t blamed for this scandal and that Mexico must take care of institutions as important as the Secretary of National Defense. Mexico does not currently have an ongoing investigation of the retired general and will await the result of the U.S. investigation, according to the president of Mexico. 

Cienfuegos Zepedas is due to make a court appearance related to four charges in California on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

READ: This Is What Mexico’s AMLO Wants From The Pope For The Churches Crimes Against Indigenous Mexicans

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

READ: Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

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