El Paso tortilla maker, N.M. farmer team up to cultivate appreciation for heirloom maiz in the borderland diet
by Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, El Paso Matters
Mateo Herrera makes each tortilla with methodical care. The West El Paso restaurant where he works is closed on Mondays, so he has the kitchen to himself and his metal tray of bolitas – balls of masa awaiting their turn on the manual tortilla press. The corn tortillas gently puff up on the comal, where Herrera flips and pats them with his deft fingertips. Once cooked, they go into a terracotta container to stay warm. He finds this kind of work relaxing – serenity in the repetition.