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It's a wrap for the Flavourguy (well, not quite.)

Somewhere along the food chain the lowly tortilla evolved into a wrap. It's not hard to see why. Wraps do what they are. They are thin, flat breads pliable enough to fold around almost any variety of fillings. Supermarkets sell sandwiches wrapped in pita bread or large wheat flour tortillas. Even the Colonel is on the roll-up wagon tossing in shredded vegetables, a little chopped tomato and a couple of pieces of KFC into a wrap.

To those of us grown up on hearty loaves of yeast breads, a wrap seems meagre and not quite sufficient to be a sandwich. Where is the real bread I wonder, or at least the Wonder Bread. But sandwiches have their limits. There is only so much that can be layered between two pieces of bread before the tomatoes ooze or the mayo drips. Napkin anyone?

Wraps hold it all in. Any flat bread should do the job but large flour tortillas are the best. Pitas are often too thick to hold a sandwich and corn tortillas fall apart. In Northern Mexico, wheat often replaces corn in tortillas and this is where the wrap got its start. Flour has gluten and gives the wrap a suppleness and flexibility that corn doesn't have. These over-sized (10 inches or more) tortillas are called burritos. They are used to gather up grilled steak and vegetables for fajitas or perhaps, as a chimichanga filled with shredded beef and deep fried like a giant egg roll.

What we like about wraps is that this is a fun food. Take a large wheat flour tortilla - or one of the tasty vegetable or chili flavoured ones sold packaged in super markets - and put it in front of a kid who won't eat. Lay out some cheese slices, strips of cucumber and carrot, a sliced tomato and maybe black olives or some leftover chicken. All of a sudden Mr. "I only eat macaroni and cheese" is making his own meal.

Wraps are also great as impromptu pizzas. Spread a little tomato sauce and sliced mushrooms or pepperoni and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake in a hot oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

Wraps are sold almost everywhere. Check the date on the package to make sure they are fresh. Two brands that we've been using are Pepe's for plain tortillas and President's Choice, which makes several kinds including a tasty vegetable and herb wrap.

© Barry Lazar 2002

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