So, yesterday I found out I received the mini-grant I applied for, so I’ll be working on the anthology In the House of the Tortilla-Makers in 2006.
And you know I recently posted Nana Minnie’s tortilla recipe.
El Xolo commented that real tortillas are de maíz.
Which reminded me of a couple of passages from The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Urrea. The first passage occurs when the community discovers their patrón is moving to Sonora, and thus they must move with him.
Eggs and tortillas became a new astonishment. The Sinaloans had heard that Sonorans indulged in the unspeakable atrocity of eating flour tortillas. Flour! Any human being knew that tortillas were made of corn. So they regarded their pieces of tortillas with sorrow--serving as spoon and fork and napkin all at once, their humble little maíz tortillas, with their loose skins and their delicious burned spots, had revealed themselves at last to be family members more loyal than sisters or brothers. Long after a fight with a brother, even after a funeral for a sister, you could scoop us some fried beans with a tortilla de maíz. And when you didn’t have beans, a pinch of salt in a tortilla was a great meal. How could you eat salt in a wad of flour? Did not Padre Adriel say they were “the salt of the earth”? Nobody was sure what it meant, but it clearly related to the tortilla. (105)
The second passage occurs when they have arrived at the ranch in Cabora, Sonora, only to find it razed to the ground.
Huila [the medicine woman] had sent clay bowls full of beans and nopal cactus fried in eggs to the men at the ruined ranch house. Some of the locals had provided weird huge flour tortillas, and the men at the main house ruins suspiciously wrapped their beans in these wads of what seemed to them to be wet laundry. Segundo [the foreman] found the tortillas de harina squishy and deeply improper, though by his third bean and cactus burrito, he started to enjoy them. Their rich taint of lard felt good and greasy in his mouth.
Tomás [el patrón] chose to remain loyal to his little corn tortillas. There was only so much he was willing to concede to el norte. (163)
Now, I come from what Jose Antonio Burciaga describes as a mixed marriage: Califas and Nuevo Mexico. So my mom, whose mother is from Sonora, dislikes new mexican food: the rice is soupy and the tortillas are bready. She grew up with the large thin tortillas de harina of Sonora. The legend goes that a good woman of Sonora could roll her tortillas so thin that you could a) see the moon through them or b) read a book through them. New Mexican tortillas de harina, by contrast, are closer kin to pita bread.
Reading Sonrisa Morena had me looking for champurrado this morning!