A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 01, 2008
Gordita

"Gordita” is Spanish for “little fat one.” Taco Bell popularized the gordita when it introduced its “Gordita Supreme” in 1997, but the word “gordita” has been cited in English since at least the 1840s. The food item was first popularized in the Mexican city of Guadalupe, where Gorditas de la Virgen (little fat ones of the Virgin) were eaten by travelers to the religious shrine there.

Earlier versions of the gordita appear to be simply a thicker, puffier tortilla, but later the gordita began to be filled with beans, cheese, and meat.


Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: gor·di·ta
Pronunciation: \gȯr-ˈdē-tə\
Function: noun
Etymology: Mexican Spanish, diminutive of gorda thick tortilla, from Spanish, feminine of gordo fat, thick, from Late Latin gurdus dull, blunt
Date: 1945
: a deep-fried pocket of cornmeal dough filled with a savory mixture

Wikipedia: Gordita
A gordita in Mexican cuisine is a food which is characterized by a small, thick tortilla made with masa harina (corn flour). The gordita is in contrast to a taco, which uses a thinner tortilla. “Gordita” means “little fat one” in Spanish. The gordita is typically baked on a comal, a small pan similar to a skillet.

The gordita’s thick tortilla is typically split and filled with guisos (soups or stews) or casseroles, like chicken, cochinita pibil, nopales, carne al pastor, etc. These are made mostly for lunch and are accompanied by many different types of salsas. The most traditional “gordita” in the central region of Mexico is filled with “chicharrón prensado” (a type of stew made with pork rind and spices) and is called “gordita de chicharrón”.

In Durango, Mexico, gorditas are commonly made from wheat flour (harina de trigo) tortillas and look more like small pita breads. The dough (masa) is identical to that of the flour tortilla. It is cooked on a griddle (comal) with a hot piece of metal placed on top that resembles a clothes iron. The gordita fills up with steam and a small slit is cut into one side where it can be filled with guisados.

The Taco Bell gordita is more like a pita bread taco than a typical Mexican gordita, although it has some similarities to the Durango gordita. Interestingly, Taco Bell is responsible for popularizing the gordita in the United States.

Gourmet Sleuth
Gorditas de Chile Colorado
Source: The Mexican Gourmet
Makes 16 Gorditas

Gorditas are “fat” little cakes made from masa that have been either baked or fried.  These little snacks are served with a variety of toppings including cheese (con queso) or in this recipe, chile colorado.

I N G R E D I E N T S
For Gorditas:
1 1/2 oz ancho chiles, toasted, with stems, seeds, and veins removed
8 oz prepared corn tortilla masa (dough for corn tortillas)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

For Sauce:
2 1/2 oz ancho chiles, toasted, with stems, seeds and veins removed
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

For Topping:
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup queso panela (low fat white cheese), farmer cheese, or cacciotta, crumbled (...)

Taco Bell
GORDITA SUPREME
Warm, pillowy flatbread filled with seasoned ground beef, cool sour cream, crisp, shredded lettuce, a blend of three cheeses — cheddar, pepperjack, and mozzarella, and diced ripe tomatoes. (You can also upgrade this item with marinated and grilled all-white-meat chicken** or authentic carne asada steak.)
**All-white-meat Chicken available in U.S. only.

Google Books
Life in Mexico During a Residence of Two Years in that Country
by Frances Erskine Calderon de la Barca
Volume I
Boston, MA: C. C. Little and J. Brown
1843
Pp. 98-99:
“Gorditas de horna caliente?” “Little fat cakes from the oven, hot?”

Google Books
Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains
by George F. Ruxton
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers
1848
Pg. 205:
...and such meat (poor and tough at this season of the year), with cakes of Indian meal, either tortillas or gorditas,"* furnished the daily bill of fare.
* The tortilla is a round, flat pancake, made of the Indian corn-meal; the gordita is of the same material, but thicker.

Live Search Books
A Dream of a Throne
by Charles Fleming Embree
Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company
1900
Pg. 45:
Their shouting and laughing bewildered the child, and gorditas and chicharrones and many another fried and sputtering thing sizzled on the charcoal fires. 

Making of America
June 1900, Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, “Guadalupe, the Sacred City,” pg. 489:
...funny, sweet little cakes that they call gorditas;...

Live Search Books
The Golden Chain
by Gwendolen Overton
New York, NY: The Macmillan Company
1903
Pg. 61:
And a man was turning the corn gorditas.

17 May 1903, Fort Worth (TX) Telegram, section 6, pg. 8:
Did you ever eat a Mexican dinner, cooked by one who knew how to cook it? asks the Talisman; and he gives as a bill of fare, enchiladas, tortillas and tamales, with the omnipresent frijoles, and, we might add, the gordita.
(...)
The tortillas are then placed on it and in a minute or two cooked through. They are immediately placed hot in a napkin or white cotton cloth, which keeps them warm and moist. The gordita, which is thicker and not so wide, is cooked in a skillet of hot lard, the same as we cook corn cakes.

Google Books
Roy and Ray in Mexico
by Mary Wright Plummer
New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company
1912 (Published May 1907)
Pg. 87 (Mexico City and Guadalupe):
As they came down the hill, the children stopped to buy some tiny cakes or gorditas (gor-dee’-tas), made and sold by a neat, pleasant-looking woman stationed beside the road. They were a kind of sweetened tortilla, very smooth and rich, and fairly melted in one’s mouth.

Terry’s Mexico:
Handbook for Travellers
by T. Philip Terry
Second Edition Revised
Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company
1911
Pg. 393 (Guadalupe):
These stands are notable for a kind of small biscuit (biscocho) called Gorditas de la Virgen (little fat ones of the Virgin), made of maiz de Cacahuazintla (a large-grained corn resembling horses’-teeth) from the valleys of Toluca and Tulancingo.  The gorditas sell at two for one centavo, and the hungry Indians eat them in amazing quantities.

Google Books
Brimstone and Chili:
A book of personal experiences in the Southwest and in Mexico
by Carleton Beals
New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf
1927
Pg. 320:
... gorditas de la Virgen, holy sweet-cakes, almond-shaped, made from the meal of the big Cacahuatzintle corn;...

Ramona’s Spanish-Mexican cookery:
The first complete and authentic Spanish-Mexican cook book in English
edited and modernized by Pauline Wiley-Kleemann.
Los Angeles, CA: Printed by West Coast Pub. Co.
c1929
Pg. 84:
Gorditos
4 cups tortilla dough (masa)
1/2 cup green chile sauce (see sauces)
1/2 lib. sliced goat cheese
3 avocadoes, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pg. 85: 
Divide the dough in 6 equal parts, form a round cake 1/2 inch thick and cook slowly on medium hot griddle, turning frequently, when well done split open and fill with cheese, chile sauce and avocado, salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe will recall to many tourists the fond recollections of their visit to Santa Nita or Xochimilco where they were blessed with plenty of these delicious sandwiches, served with a generous gourde of pulque and music, as their flower laden boats drifted along the canals of the floating gardens near Old Mexico City.

6 December 1931, New York (NY) Times, “Mexico’s Eyes Again Trnu to Guadalupe” by Carleton Beals, pg. SM10:
Here are many women with little tin braziers on which they cook “Gorditas de la Virgin,” little round sweetened corn-meal cakes, supposed to have especially sacred qualities.

Google Books
Mexican Journey: An Intimate Guide to Mexico
by Edith Mackie and Sheldon Dick
New York, NY: Dodge Publishing Company
1935
Pg. 16:
Other variations of fried tortilla with things heaped on top are: sopes in Jalisco, gorditas in the central zone, and chalupas in Puebla.

Google Books
New Crops for the New World
by Charles Morrow Wilson
New York, NY: The Macmillan Company
1945
Pg. 39:
gorditas—cornmeal cakes cooked in fat.

18 May 1969, New York (NY) Times, “Seeing Veracruz By Trolley Costs 2 Cents All Day” by Jack McDonald, pg. XX45:
The Mandinga eating places all make good sopa de tortuga (turtle soup) and gorditas, as they call their thick tortillas.

12 September 1974, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section E, pg. 11:
GORDITAS
(Little Fat Tortillas)
1 1/2 pounds masa (do not use cornmeal)
2 tablespoons melted shortening
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a bowl, and knead for a few moments with the hands. Form in small balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Flatten between hands until the tortilla is about one-half-inch thick.

Put a pat of margarine on each side, and fry on a lightly greased griddle over a low fire. Turn occasionally, and do not burn. Or cover with foil, and bake for 35 minutes in a 350F. oven.

Gorditas are served in place of bread with a meal. Split and butter, and salt if desired.

4 October 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Tolbert’s Texas” by Frank X. Tolbert, section D, pg. 5:
At my second meal in the pueblo restaurant the entree was gorditas, not fattening as the title would suggest but little meat pies in a corn tortillas package and with fresh tomatoes and lettuce over the top. The meat is lean and the pastry, if you’d call it that, is made with no oil or butter.

The Tex-Mex Cookbook
by Robb Walsh
New York, NY: Broadway Books
2004
Pg. 3:
GORDITAS
Gorditas ("little fat ones” in Spanish), are made with masa (tortilla dough), which is patted into a circle. The dough is dropped into hot oil where it puffs up. It is then split open to form a pocket. A filling, often beans or shredded meat and cheese, is placed in the pocket.

(Trademark)
Word Mark GORDITA SUPREME
Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: Prepared Mexican food consisting primarily of a flatbread filled with meat, various vegetables, cheese and salsa/sauces for consumption on and off the premises. FIRST USE: 19971229. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19971229
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75516818
Filing Date July 10, 1998
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition November 9, 1999
Registration Number 2323258
Registration Date February 29, 2000
Owner (REGISTRANT) Taco Bell Corp. CORPORATION CALIFORNIA 17901 Von Karman Irvine CALIFORNIA 92614
Attorney of Record Kristy B. Mothersbaugh
Prior Registrations 1050189;1920011;2031945;AND OTHERS
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “GORDITA” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL-2(F)
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, February 01, 2008 • Permalink