Instant Coff..Tortilla??

When I think of instant, I think of instant coffee. When I think of a Keurig I think of coffee, and plastic pods. Never would I have associated an instant Keurig for tortillas. Until I saw a video on Youtube video from a company called Flatev from 2016 who created an instant tortilla machine similar to what the Keurig is for coffee.

At first I thought that the video was fake, it just seemed like such an odd machine and I had a lot of questions and thoughts. After digging around a bit I found that it was credible, to a point. The idea launched on Kickstart, which is a crowdfunding site for new and innovative ideas. And it was reviewed on sites such as Eater, Food and wine, and Business insider, amongst others. However I couldn’t find any relevant articles or information about the product, the most updated posts were from 2017. When looking though the comment section on Kickstarter I noticed most of them were from people who wanted refunds calling the company a “scam” and demanding refunds. Apparently the only update the company gave, according to one of the reviews was that ”  the project still exists. However [Flatev] have not found a solution for manufacturing. [Flatev] are still looking for further options but it’s not easy as it doesn’t depend on us. There are other partners involved in all this.”

While I was unable to verify if there was an actual manufacturing issue, or if this was a scam of some sorts, I want to focus on the project itself. I don’t know how I feel about the idea of a tortilla being packed inside a plastic pod, to be plopped inside a machine. Tortillas in my mind have a connotation of my grandmother making them from scratch in her kitchen, her hands effortlessly rounding up the shape and flipping it on her gas stove. Tortillas remind me of my father waking up early to go to the panaderia across the street from our old apartment to buy fresh tortillas from Sonia. I also buy packaged tortillas being a college student and working I didn’t have time to cook all the time, but I knew what I was buying when I picked up the packaged tortillas from the bread aisle of the supermarket. But the idea of a fresh tortilla having its history and all the hands that have formed to make it be confined to the equivalent of a futuristic microwave did not sit well. I thought about discussions in class about how people want to eat the food but not be around the people. It is essentially the same as the idea of prepackaged seasonings. The customer does not have to interact with the people and can simply go to the supermarket to buy pods. Enjoying another cultures food from the privacy of their own homes.

One thought on “Instant Coff..Tortilla??

  1. I remember when this made the rounds in the news. This would be like a personalized tortilla factory. The reservations you had are similar to those others shared, but then some who were able to overlook some of those arguments thought, yes, fresh tortillas. Now, when it comes to masa, that’s the secret really, and also the quality of wheat or corn. No doubt, though, all this overlooks the history and the people connected to tortillas, and that, as always, is a dangerous situation for decontextualizing foodways.


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