New Year’s day means Huevos Rancheros at my parents house, it has for as long as I can remember. We don’t always make it there to enjoy the eggs and tomatoes and fresh tortillas but if we are any where close we make it a priority. Growing up, there were a number of favorite meals that my brother and I had but none compared the home made tortillas my mom would make. We would meticulously keep track of how many the other had eaten to make sure we weren’t getting cheated of our fair share. Tearing off bits of tortilla and scooping up what ever tasty meal they came with is a strong nostalgic part of growing up in our house. When I left home my mom sent me off with a printed out recipe in a plastic sheet, so I could make my own tortillas. Though I had made them with her a number of times, as with every great Mom recipe, they never turn out quite as good as hers.
After Primo was born in Indianapolis my parents came out to meet him and take care of us a bit. Holding the one week old little blond boy in her arms my mom said “There is no Flores in this boy at all.” It’s true. He is Norwegian through and through but that doesn’t mean he won’t be learning how to make tortillas too. Taking stock of the empty fridge on Saturday night I found that we had some eggs, some Chorizo, and some cheese so I checked the cupboard for the simple ingredients for tortillas. We had the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the shortening so I called primo into the kitchen with me and gave him his first lesson in the art of fresh tortillas. We measured out the flour, with him scrapping the excess off the measuring cup with a wooden spoon. He clumsily measured the baking powder and salt into the bowl. We choose connection over perfection this night. We mixed in the shortening getting our hands greasy and thick with flour. Warm water added to bring everything together, we had a nice big ball of dough ready.
Primo cracked the eggs in a bowl as I got the Chorizo going in a pan. We got the flat cast iron pan heating up on another burner and we took turns whipping the eggs up into a good scramble. What he lacks in technique he makes up for in enthusiasm. After washing our hands we got out the rolling pin, a large wooden cutting board, and the flour to get started on forming the tortillas. I told him about the times watching grandma make these and how uncle Mark and I would fight. I told him how grandma learned from her mom and how I never met her but know a lot of stories. We were sharing history as we formed the round flat discs. Adding flour to the board and the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. We were both dusty from floured hands wiping brows but this too was part of it, the process.
Primo watched the first tortilla cooking on the pan. Watched it bubble and tighten as it cooked, the extra flour turning brown on the hot skillet. He flipped it over with his spatula, a little later than we wanted. We realized our pan was too hot and talked about all the things that go into making the food we eat. The little factors we try to juggle when making dinner. We grated cheese and spread it over the Chorizo and egg scramble. Made a salad and finished cooking the rest of the tortillas before tracking down mommy and segundo for dinner. He was proud to have mommy taste his meal, telling her about grandma and grandma’s mom. He is story teller too. He carries the fire.