“While maize and beans alone lack vital amino acids, cooking them together complements the value of their proteins as well as their tastes. The invention of ceramic vessels was therefore important to the development of the sedentary, agrarian Olmec society in the absence of protein from domesticated animals. A final nutritional defect of maize is the shortage of usable niacin, a vitamin needed to prevent the disease pellegra, which is characterized by skin rash, intestinal problems, insanity, and death. Maize could not become the dietary staple for dense urban populations until cooks discovered the nixtamal process in which limestone or wood ash freed the chemically bound vitamin. However nutritionally sound, the recipe for tortillas required enormous physical labor from women. Arguably, they worked as hard grinding corn on the metate as did the men they fed who constructed the physical monuments of Teotihuacán, the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.” (Pilcher 26, 27)
“A sense of authenticity, based on historic traditions of foods tied to particular locations, can be welcomed refuge from the threat of global homogenization. Nevertheless, efoorts to trace a genealogy for a national cuisine confront basic historical problems, starting with the fact the pre-Hispanic peoples were not “Mexican.”” (Pilcher 21)
Pilcher, Jeffrey M.. Planet Taco. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.