Bone anti stick Powder
May 28, 2008 6:29 PM   Subscribe

I ate tortillas in Mexico that were cooked on an old harrow blade over a wood fire. The harrow blade was dusted with a form of charred bone powder that prevented the tortillas from sticking. They were delicious. Is this anti stick bone powder available anywhere in the US?
posted by Raybun to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think you had discada (this is the name of the dish prepared in a harrow blade). I'd never heard of the bone powder, but I'll ask my family in the north.
posted by clearlydemon at 6:44 PM on May 28, 2008

I had this in Chihuahua
posted by Raybun at 7:15 PM on May 28, 2008

This was just a plain corn tortilla. The harrow disk still had the open mounting holes in the bottom and could not be used for liquidy foods. Will be asking my friends in VT where I can find an old blade. Yum
posted by Raybun at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2008

The powder must have been bone meal?

According to wikipedia:

Bone meal once was often used as a human dietary calcium supplement. Research in the 1980s found that many bone meal preparations were contaminated with lead and other toxic metals, and it is no longer recommended as a calcium source.

In addition to the heavy metals/lead, there is also Mad Cow's disease to think about...

It is still available in the U.S. as a dietary supplement and you can buy it at various places online.
posted by cinemafiend at 9:04 PM on May 28, 2008

I have seen references in older cookbooks for both Calcium Carbonate and Quick Lime in tortilla preparation - see tortillas, here. I think this is what you're looking for.
posted by rhymesinister at 10:00 PM on May 28, 2008

A number of UK Rose enthusiasts contracted BSE (mad cow) from inhaling bone meal dust as they fertilized their plants. Any bone meal should be handled with care.
posted by KTrujillo at 12:53 AM on May 29, 2008

I have seen references in older cookbooks for both Calcium Carbonate and Quick Lime in tortilla preparation - see tortillas, here. I think this is what you're looking for.

No, this has a different purpose. The lime makes the proteins in corn more available to human use.
posted by OmieWise at 5:16 AM on May 29, 2008

KTrujillo, I don't suppose you have a cite for that, do you?
posted by Leon at 5:27 AM on May 29, 2008

I'd heard the bone meal = mad cow thing too. I found this which seems to say that it was at least overblown. Honestly though, eating it seems a bit dicey. I suppose if you could find some organic bone meal.
posted by sully75 at 6:07 AM on May 29, 2008

In Guatemala they don't use any powder, they just cook them on any flat metal surface (even a beaten sheet of corrugated tin).

In any case, bone powder shouldn't have a flavor of its own unless they added salt to it or something, so I wouldn't stress out too much about finding some. Or a harrow blade either, for that matter.

I think the NOM-ness comes from the freshness of the masa, the type of corn (do they use elote in Mexico?), the wood smoke, and the delicious charred bits that form on the outside of a steaming hot tortilla. And the savor of the experience itself.

In Guate we would put a little lard and a sprinkle of salt on a fresh tortilla and devour it. They just don't sell tortillas like that in the States.
posted by GardenGal at 7:01 AM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I agree GardenGal, I suspect the delicious flavor is from the tortilla itself (yes, we use elote), the smoke and the metal surface. I've googled like crazy and I haven't found even one cite that mentions bone powder. If anything, I've found recipes recommending not to burn bones because of the bad smell and taste it causes.

Raybun, did they tell you specifically it was bone powder?

I'm waiting for an answer from my aunt who's an expert on cooking on tractor parts :)
posted by clearlydemon at 9:00 AM on May 29, 2008

Also, you don't need to find a harrow blade, I'm pretty sure a comal will do.
posted by clearlydemon at 9:02 AM on May 29, 2008

I was told this was bone powder. The powder did not seem to impart taste by itself, It was the lack of any flavor added in the cooking that made it so nice.
posted by Raybun at 12:39 PM on May 29, 2008

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