We are living on the brink of the tortillapocalypse, but the world is asleep.

I hope you’re holding up ok given the scary news of the last few days.

That’s right, Taco Bell says it’s been dealing with a tortilla shortage.

Those craving inexpensive tacos and burritos at odd hours are bearing the brunt of this crisis, but it’s affecting all of us.

Tortillas, after all, have been a part of culinary life for thousands of years.

They’re everywhere, even in space.

Since the 1980s, astronauts have used tortillas in place of bread, because they leave fewer crumbs behind.

The most traditional tortilla is made from corn masa, and comes from the Mexica people, sometimes called Aztecs, in what is now Mexico.

Back then the flat round creations were known by a number of names, including tlaxcalli.

The name tortilla, which means “little cake,” came later, when the Spanish arrived.

That’s also where the wheat tortilla enters the story; the Spanish connected wheat to Christianity and thought of corn as animal feed, not for humans.

Throughout most of that history, making tortillas was hard work, done by hand mostly by Mexican women for long periods of time.

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that tortillas were being mass produced by machines; at one point they were even sold out of cans!

All of which set much of the world on course to become addicted to these delicious and versatile little disks and all the amazing foods they make possible.

And that’s why, even if the Taco Bell tortilla shortage goes on for some time, the world will find a way to keep the tortillas coming.

I hope.

Plus, here’s the story of a man who brought a great deal of change to Phoenix, Arizona, and I mean literally.

Cory Nielsen has just built what appears to be the largest-ever pyramid of pennies.

1 million, 30 thousand, 315 pennies in all.

And they’re all free-standing, no glue or tape involved.

That works out to over ten thousand bucks, so if Nielsen decides to take the pyramid down, think of how many tacos he could buy!

Taco Bell restaurants hit by tortilla shortage that is affecting burritos and quesadillas (USA Today)

Testin’ Tortillas in San Antonio: From Moctezuma to Mass Production (San Antonio Current)

Food For Space Flight (NASA)

Arizona man builds pyramid out of 1 million pennies in world record attempt (New York Post)

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Homemade tortillas (photo by Stacy Spensley via Flickr/Creative Commons