Culture

Chefs In Mexico City Have Created The World’s Largest Torta And It’s Truly Enormous

Granted, you probably thought that you’ve already confronted the world’s largest torta, thanks to your abuelita’s talents in the kitchen and propensity to stuff you full. But, you’d be mistaken if you thought that good ol’ abuela didn’t have some serious competition last week. That’s right, good people: we’re talking about the world’s largest torta.

What do you mean, abuelita’s got competition?

Youtube / @New China TV

Well, July 31 saw what was practically an army of chefs in Mexico City create a 236-foot torta. Basically, these geniuses took festival food to a new level – although, it would be pretty difficult to carry this torta in one hand. And, do you know how long it took for them to make it? Less than three minutes! At least you know who to call on next time you’ve got a grumbling stomach.

So…what was the point in all of this torta mayhem?

Instagram / @New China TV

A combination of local authorities and local businesses teamed up to put together the massive Mexican sandwich, which contained a combination of lettuce, onion and tomato, mixed with gallons upon gallons of mayonnaise, mustard, and spicy sauces. Each section of the torta was made by a different chef, who added a new signature flavor to the mix by using ingredients such as ham and seafood. The stunt culminated in not only the biggest torta ever made in Mexico, but the biggest torta made in the whole of Latin America. 

But why did it need to be so massive?

Instagram / @tortacompany

Sure, making a hella big torta is going to attract a crowd. Someone’s gotta eat it, once it’s been made, right? But, these torta chefs weren’t making the iconic Mexican sandwich for the fun of it – that’s only part of the story. Rather, it was a challenge that was part of a three-day annual torta fair organized by the local government in the Mexican capital. 

The hope in creating and executing a challenge as delectably iconic as this one was to try to draw attention to businesses in the region that specialize in the torta, and give them an economic boost. When previously interviewed about the event, locals have said, “What we want to do is to show people that the torta is very important. It’s important for our diet and we’re bringing together more than 100 (torta) businesses.” They’ve also stressed that the event is “… a good idea to bring tourism to Mexico City and to give an idea of our gastronomy, into what normal people eat daily.” 

But do we really need to have a conversation about the torta – it’s just a sandwich, right?

At the end of the day, while the torta functions very much like a sandwich, it’s anything but. Okay, maybe that’s being a little dramatic. But, it is part of Mexican culture. And, the torta does differentiate itself from being a plain ol’ sammich. It tends to be bigger in size, and actually has ingredients like avocados and refried beans on both the inside and outside of the sandwich. They can be heated, or eaten cold. The trick to a genuine torta is using bread that doesn’t fall apart under the weight and moistness of the ingredients. The businesses that participated in the event are part of preserving the secrets to a great torta.

The thing is, with the rise of fast food, consumer interest in tortas has declined. And, don’t get us wrong – some days, only a good McDonalds cheeseburger will suffice for those particularly nasty hangovers. However, less desire for tortas means that businesses suffer losses, and may potentially close. From there, less consumer access to tortas means that, again, consumer interest can then further decline. It’s a vicious cycle. But you know what? It may just be that making a gigantic torta is part of the process of revitalizing interest in the torta, and preserving cultural legacy.

Do you have any fond memories of devouring a Mexican torta? Or are you yet to try one? Let us know on Twitter – you can find us through the icon at the top of the page.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

Things That Matter

Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

Despite being one of the world’s hardest hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mexico never once closed its doors to international tourism. In fact, the country has worked hard to lure travelers from the U.S. as Americans faced increasingly tough restrictions at home. This has had a profound impact on the country’s experience with Covid-19, with so many Mexicans either falling ill themselves or knowing someone who has.

With so many Mexicans having first hand experience with the virus, it makes sense why so many have strong opinions about tourist’s behaviors while visiting the country.

Tourists are still welcomed in Mexico but their bad behavior is not.

Most Mexicans agree with their government’s open borders approach during the pandemic, since the alternative would have meant even worse economic situation for a country already suffering record levels of poverty. But the influx of tourists to the country has brought with it a level of resentment at those who fail to follow local health guidelines while on vacation.

Mexico never closed its airports to tourists and one walk down a block in Mexico City’s popular Condesa or Roma neighborhoods and you’ll spot American tourists within minutes – many failing to wear a mask. The problem is even more severe in popular tourist destinations like Oaxaca.

There, tourists often travel from the bustling city of Oaxaca into remote villages where Indigenous residents have even less access to proper medical care.

Residents fear that tourists feel they are exempt from local Covid-19 guidelines.

Many residents who have had their own personal experience with the coronavirus has made them sensitive to the pandemic situation in their community. As case numbers continued to rise, many noticed more tourists defying widely practiced public-health protocols, like wearing face masks in public.

On Feb. 25, a popular photographer from Oaxaca, Frank Coronado, posted a plea to his 171,000 Instagram followers: “Dear travelers, you are welcome in Oaxaca, but you should ALWAYS wear a mask when you are in public places.”

He wanted to publicly address the issue and encourage visitors to do better — particularly foreigners who travel from Oaxaca City into smaller rural villages, where artisans are even more vulnerable. He told the Washington Post, “I get mad because I already went through [covid-19] and know how bad it feels. I don’t want my people, the people of Oaxaca, to get sick.”

With an economy based on services, many don’t have the freedom to work from home.

Many in Mexico don’t have the luxury of isolating from tourists — such as Aurora Tostado, who owns the downtown coffee shop Marito & Moglie with her husband.

“People in Mexico, we have to get out of our homes to work. It’s not like we can work remotely like most of the people in the U.S.,” Tostado told the Washington Post. Like others in hospitality, Tostado benefits financially from having tourists, and she is happy to welcome them back, she says. She just hopes they will consider the chain reaction of their behavior as they enjoy the culture that makes her city special

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Things That Matter

Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has remained a popular tourist destination as people seek out places with fewer restrictions. However, Mexico’s popular beach destination of Tulum apparently still has some restrictions – for LGBTQ folks – that the police are quick to enforce.

A Canadian couple was briefly detained by police for allegedly kissing on the beach.

Police in the popular resort town of Tulum, about 90-minutes south of Cancun, briefly arrested a gay couple for kissing in public on a beach, alleging that the couple was not allowed to kiss in public because children were present.

According to local media reports, police said they were reacting to a report by someone else on the beach who had claimed that the men were “committing immoral acts.”

The couple were handcuffed together and ordered in to the back of a patrol vehicle until a crowd of onlookers formed and began to shout disapprovingly at police after one of the men explained to the crowd why they were being detained.

Outraged bystanders gathered around the couple and urged the police to let the men go.

The crowd began shouting in support of the couple, calling the actions homophobic and demanding the couple’s release.

The pressure from the crowd apparently prompted officers to release the men after a few minutes of dialogue. The presence of Escalante herself might also have been a factor.

In response to the arrest, Quintana Roo Tulum Police said: ‘We are an inclusive and impartial police both for residents and tourists who visit the state of Quintana Roo. So no abuse of authority will be tolerated.’

Video of the incident quickly went viral on social media with outrage being the common reaction.

Video and photos of the arrest went viral after on social media accounts, including that of local politician Maritza Escalante Morales, who denounced the actions of the officers. Escalante happened to be at the beach with her family when she noticed the officers approach the couple, she said, and joined the crowd to advocate for the couple’s release.

“I want to file a PUBLIC COMPLAINT, because the treatment and type of authorities we have in our municipality is inexcusable. Yesterday while I was on the beach with my family, we noticed around 4:30 that 2 police squads in their ATVs approached a group of young foreigners. After about 20 minutes, a patrol arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs,” she explained on TikTok.

“The policemen were VIOLENT,” Morales added, “and gave arguments such as ‘there are families and children and they cannot be seeing this. I am FURIOUS because it is not possible that in the XXI century this type of oppression against the LGBT+ community continues. We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these authorities.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com