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General Discussion

The Myriad Guises of Quesadillas.

Jim Leff | Aug 12, 200212:44 PM     44

I'm working on an article explaining that a lot of Mexican food names (eg. quesadillas, huaraches, gorditas, enchiladas) are essentially meaningless, because they're made so differently in different places. Mexico's such a huge country with such diverse cuisines, and everybody uses these same terms to describe their own regional stuff (whereas in most countries names for things change as the foods themselves morph...for exaggerated illustration, I invite readers to "imagine if Memphis barbecue, New England clam bakes, Cincinnati chili, and Midwestern casseroles were all called "grilled cheese sandwiches").

I'd like to give an example, but I'm not Rain Man, so after the fifth or sixth completely different food offered me under the rubric of "quesadilla", I stopped trying to classify what quesadillas are and just started going with the flow. So I don't have encycopedic memory of the full range.

So...please help me out with quesadilla recollections, preferably from your experiences in Mexico (though a bit of Mexican-American input's welcome to). I'd rather not attempt to classify via geography, because in my experience even little villages can have several quite different methods of preparation. So, please, just describe quesadillas you've had. I'll start.

tortillas are sometimes flour, sometimes corn. Sometimes broiled, sometimes grilled. Purely cheese, or cheese with optional choice of meat or a big sloppy burritoesque combo of cheese, meat, salsa, crema, pico de gallo, etc. Cheese can be white cheese or a combination of cheeses.

1. thin tortilla with cheese melted on one side (and maybe other stuff), and gently turned over (so the cheese is inside).

2. a two tortilla "sandwich" with melted cheese (and maybe other stuff) in the middle

3. a thin tortilla folded over and topped with melted cheese (and maybe other stuff)

I've had other preparations, and so have you, I bet. Any recollections?

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