Where you go, I will go; where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people for your God is my God.

Friday, September 21, 2012

La Cocinita

When Rafa and I first met, we spent most of our days high up in mountain villages with the people there.  Life is even slower there than in the rest of Mexico.  The people rise in the morning when the sun wakes them.  Meetings where set for times like “after the dinner hour” or “at dark”.  The idea of minutes and hours pretty much did not exist.  DSCN2517

{In between naps, eating, and diaper changing, J enjoyed checking in on the progress his papa was making.  I enjoyed doing the same!}

There the woman daily cook corn, grind it for masa and spend hours pounding out tortillas for their families.  All over a comal with a flame under it. Tortillas are a basic food group.  Women, or girls rather, have their babies young and are married even younger.  It is said that when a girl can make tortillas on her own she is ready to marry.  DSCN2531

So I learned to make tortillas.  Not so much to be allowed to get married, {though that was a plus!} but because it was the natural thing to do.  Most times while we were visiting inside those homes, the women would be working away as we chatted, studied, sang, and prayed together. It was natural to reach into the big ol’ bucket of masa, roll it into a ball and pound it out between two pieces of plastic paper.  I learned not to be scared of the open fire or a little hard work. And I remember well the excitement when my very misshaped tortilla puffed up for the first time.DSCN2536

{Lighting the first flames.}

The other day a certain handsome man of mine made me my own cocinita, or outdoor, wood-burning kitchen.  Oh how he knows how to make this girl’s heart patter!  Throughout the process he did not leave the front gate once to go and buy something.  He adapted, improvised, and it all came out to be beautiful, unique and functional.  DSCN2539

I have so much to learn.  While I learned pretty well how to pat the tortillas and cook them, I am out of practice.  Also anytime I have made tortillas, the masa has been prepared ahead of time.  I need to learn to cook the corn, wash it, grind it, and use my hands to form the ball of masa.  Starting and maintaining a fire would be a good thing to master too.  One of the things that I’m excited about is the opportunity the cocinita is going to give Job to learn basic life skills like fire building and wood chopping.  He has proven to be all boy and full of life thus far, so knowing him, he will love having those responsibilities in a few years!

We still need to purchase the clay comal and an ax {we have been cutting the bits of wood with the saw and splintering them with the hammer} but we still have been putting our out door fire pit to good use.  Marshmallows, hotdogs, basic cooking with the cast iron skillet and warming up tortillas have all taken place in the last two days.  Next week we have a gordita party planned.  I also plan on roasting all of our chilies and other produce for our salsas out there so that we do not all burn our eyes out.  Besides that, the taste is all the better when cooked over a fire.

We love our cocinita.  Won’t you come help us use it?!

1 comment:

  1. The morn I learn about Rafa the more I admire him-his ability to improvise reminds me of your Grandpa.