Cold Feet, Warm Tortillas

Gran’s place always somehow seemed magical. From the circle of flowers to the faded yellow porch with the maca to rock on. I know now that it was an old, worn-down house, on an old-run down farm. Now it’s condos and tract homes. But I still remember where my tree house stood, where the lamb’s pen and the tire swing were. I still remember cold feet in the mornings and the taste of warm tortillas.

No two rooms were done the same, any carpet was threadbare; the linoleum old and worn, wood floors painted bright aqua, thick in spots where previous paint wasn’t sanded off. Gran kept her slippers beside her bed and never put her bare feet on the floor, but I was young. Old enough to do what I wanted, young enough to not care about the cold.

I spent a lot of time with her and had my own bed. Each morning I’d freeze on the dash to the bathroom, but could never seem to find my socks or shoes quick enough. It was part of the magic there: feeling the different textures under my feet as I roamed around the house. Doors that led through closets into rooms, floors where bare wood peeked from under torn linoleum. Fascinating in it’s difference from most “modern” homes.

My favorite memories are of tortilla making days. Hot tortillas, fresh from the comale, dripping with butter. I remember Gran standing there at the long counter, her hands moving, flashing like magic. I loved to watch as she made balls of masa, ready for rolling. Even then her brown hands were wrinkled from years of hard work. I even tried once or twice to learn how she did it, but never managed to capture whatever secret ingredient she put in to make them taste so good.

Never still as a child, I’d bounce around the room, staying out of the way, watching her long braid dance as she bustled back and forth. Rolling out one tortilla, flipping another, moving finished tortillas into a tupperware cake plate, with toallas waiting to keep the heat of the tortillas in. I’d sneak them out as soon as her back was turned, too eager to wait for them to cool. No one said butter was bad for me and I’d spread it thick, rolling quickly to stuff my face with the goodness.

I can still picture the stove, the tv tray she kept nearby to hold the finished tortillas. The smell in the air as the warm dough cooked, crisping in spots. Watching them puff up as they cooked. So many memories that can not be erased. Beautiful traditions that were passed on.

I will always remember the love placed in every bite of those tortillas. I will always remember the afternoons as a child that were spent waiting with bare feet on a cold floor for warm tortilla goodness.

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5 Responses

  1. What a beautifully described image. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. My grandma used to make homemade tortillas too! I never tried. I go to Senor Pepes here because they make homemade tortillas!!! yummmmmmmm~

  3. What a beautiful story….. And perfectly said.l

  4. n.l. – I consider myself truly lucky to have eaten in my grandmother’s kitchen. My tortillas come out looking like ghosts. You don’t want to try eating them either.

    Thanks so much Cinchy! Nice to share these great memories.

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