26 October 2009

The Tortilla

God, I have written a lot of entries lately that somehow or other touch upon food. And this after unmercifully mocking the American obsession with food, particularly the obsession of older Americans with food. I cannot remember now which entry that was. In summary, however, a large, free meal is to older folks what getting laid is to younger folks.

I have really never been all that interested in food as some sort of art form and have regarded food intake as a necessary waste of time before getting on with it. But getting the hang of food here has been interesting for me. What can I say?

Before I form a firm resolve to leave the subject of food entirely alone for the foreseeable future, I wish to pay tribute to the lowly tortilla. It is a staple here obviously. It is utterly beautiful in its simplicity. Therein lies the appeal for me.

I now purchase my tortillas at a tortilleria very much like the one pictured in the stock photo above. No need to go inside the tortilleria. At mine, a grumpy old lady stands at a window counter with scales on it. Mexicans cue up late in the afternoon on the sidewalk to purchase stacks of fresh tortillas on the way home. Many times I get in the cue with them, and purchase a dozen, which are then wrapped in paper.

Purchasing at a tortilleria gives you tortillas that many times are still warm when you purchase them at rush hour. Grab a chunk of great cheese on the way home, and you are eating simple quesadillas made with tortillas that were prepared less than thirty minutes before you eat them. A different experience compared to eating them out of a resealable plastic bag from the Mega Store, I can assure you. These freshly prepared tortillas are so good that many times I eat a few plain right out of my cloth grocery sack on the walk back.

I am still partial to flour tortillas, but more and more I am purchasing corn tortillas for a little change of pace. You can wrap anything and everything in the damned things and eat it. I do not mean anything and everything in the sense of road kill. I mean anything and everything that is otherwise edible. However, my hamburger intake is pretty much at nil now. Playing with hamburger here is playing with fire, and I consider it to be on a par with road kill. So my basic filling is pretty much cheese, many times garnished with whatever else that is left around here.

With my penchant for peanut butter, I have downed many a peanut butter filled tortilla here at the little casa. I cannot remember the last time I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with bread, but I can tell you the last time I had peanut butter filled tortilla sandwiches. About two hours ago.

Just heat the omelet-sized cast iron skillet up. No oil or other grease necessary. Warm them until they are a little brown. If there is any one thing that symbolizes the new simplicity of my life, it is the tortilla. This is my tribute to it.


Beej said...

Yum. I was about to go to bed but now I want a pb&j. Only problem is, I have no tortillas.

Ruth said...

I miss the little tortilleria I patronized in Redlands. Need to find one here. Once you've had fresh tortillas, those ones in the plastic packages might as well be tire patches.

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't have read that before dinner, either. I need tortillas now.

Bloggerboy FFM said...

Don't think of food as art but rather as an expression of culture, not the high-brow culture of museum trustees and fund-raisers, just the wonderful variety that different people "bring to the table". That's why even simple dishes like the tortilla deserve attention.

Señor Steve said...

I knew there was some reason that I hang around with you, Bloggerboy. This comment was brilliant.

Ruth said...

Bloggerboy, you're absolutely right. Food is a big part of how we experience the lives of others.