I was reading the Wikipedia entry for tortilla. It says,

The wheat flour tortilla was an innovation by exiled Spanish Jews who did not consider corn meal to be kosher, using wheat brought from Europe, while this region was the colony of New Spain. It is made with an unleavened, water based dough, pressed and cooked like corn tortillas.

I checked the sources, but only found one, a brief article in Tex-Arcana (a Houston Chronicle publication), "What's the history of tortillas? Tradition traced to ancient culture". The ancient culture is Judaism:

Jewish families — covertly practicing their faith or simply maintaining their traditions as Catholic conversos — settled in northern Mexico to get as far from the Spanish Inquisition as possible. Since corn was not kosher and they were accustomed to eating flat pita bread, they began to make tortillas out of wheat...

Is this factually accurate?

  • 4
    Why would corn not be considered kosher? – user3342 Nov 8 '15 at 0:10
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    Matzoth are a lot older than that. – Loewian Nov 8 '15 at 0:50
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    Maybe it was a covert way of makin matzos? – sabbahillel Nov 8 '15 at 0:56
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    Could the reference to corn mean kitniyos on pesach? – sabbahillel Nov 8 '15 at 1:05
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    This might get better answers if we migrate it to Skeptics.SE – Double AA Nov 15 '16 at 14:10

Corn is kosher. It is ignorant to state corn is not kosher. All vegetables free from bugs are kosher to eat. There is a 17th Mexican Inquisition trial where a Converso (i.e. descendant of Sephardic Jews converted to Christianity) only ate corn tortillas during Passover, instead of leavened bread. Any leavened wheat flour product is forbidden to eat during Passover. Check Gitlitz' Secrecy and Deceit for the Inquisition trial source. Although the idea that Conversos may have brought the innovation, to my understanding flat bread was not a feature of the Iberian Jewish diet. In all probability, the adaptation from corn to flour was brought about because in the north of Mexico corn is not a staple that grows abundantly.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya David! – mevaqesh Apr 30 '17 at 23:16
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    Corn is kosher: that's correct, but may not have been obvious at the time (though I have no idea what their rationale would have been to forbid it) – Heshy Apr 30 '17 at 23:32

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