Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting Accustomed to Mexico

Usually I exaggerate a bit in the dramatic comic reenactments of my adventures.  Comedic effect and all.  But friends, I can assure you, this 100% happened in exactly this manner yesterday morning:

yes, he did eat a roach that was covered in dog vomit. 
and yes, I praised the crap out of that.

just for the joke, I kinda wish I would have had a tiny paper Dixie cup...

Roaches, man.  They just DON'T DIE.  I think that's why they squwick me out so darn bad.  I would have taken a picture, but I think it's much easier to find humor in a comic about a twice-vomit covered bug split in two and crawling around in different directions than it is to see it in all its real-life glory.  Disgusting isn't a strong enough word.  But when Fiance saw this comic last night he laughed so hard he cried.  I feel I've taken the better route in my story-telling.

I think I've mentioned it before, but roaches down here are different than roaches you'd see in the midwest US.  For one, there isn't a lot of hardship for a roach here - it never freezes, and homes aren't as weather-sealed as up north, so they have pretty much constant access to food.  Thus, they are more or less, giant roaches.  Since there isn't that weather-sealing priority for homes, it's not a sign that your house is dirty or disgusting if you spot a roach or two.  Infestation is another thing, but this is the first roach-invader we've seen since we moved in, so I'd say we're doing pretty well.  All that said, seeing one is still a rough thing to get used to.

What a way to start off a blog post.  Hey, check out all this cartoon vomit and cockroach grossness!  Yay!  So let's move on then.  In fact, let's talk about preparing food right after that.  Yes, that seems a logical step.

It's safe to say that any place you might let your rump rest for a period of time is going to tie some of it's customs to your heartstrings.  For Fiance and I - and probably for you, this is true of regional foods.  

Growing up in Wisconsin I have a love for good, fresh dairy, and pretty much every time I cross into that state our first stop is to grab cheese curds so fresh they squeak when you chew 'em.  

The short time I spent in Texas gave me a love and longing for good barbecue.  Pulled pork sandwiches... ugh.  

And Mexico.  Darn near everything in Mexico is delicious.  Particularly noteworthy - because they are the base of pretty much everything- are the tortillas.  They are so good and so fresh, it's really unfair that anything they sell in the states could be called a tortilla, because it sullies the name of such a perfect little part of all the food down here.

That said, it became clear pretty early on that one of us was going to have to learn how to make tortillas from scratch.  Because once our time here ends, that is just not a treat either of us are willing to give up completely.

I've had a LOT of our Mexican friends offer to teach me how to make authentic tortillas.  Which is great, BUT.  But - it is SUPER hard to learn a new skill in a lingo you're not 100% on.  Particularly a skill that seems so easy, but really has a lot of little details.  Along those same lines, learning in that manner doesn't give me a recipe.  It gives me "meh, eyeball how much of everything you put in this bowl." I don't work well without set rules, and that would make it hard to replicate the tortillas again after my lesson.  That's a lot of 'buts' and whining.  Sorry.

Anyway, I was hashing all of this over with my Anonymous Texican Friend (a friend from grad school who happens to be second-generation Mexican-American), and she very bluntly stated:

Dude, why don't I just send you my grandmother's tortilla recipe? It's definitely authentic, and when I copied it out, I wrote it in English.  But it's a secret family kind of thing, so you know that blog of yours...

And that's why ATF shall remain Anonymous.  Also, sorry, but it's also why I won't be sharing HOW I made the tortillas.  However, I can share that yesterday I did make flour tortillas.  And I can share that I will probably be finding bits of flour stuck in my ears, nose, and every crevice in the kitchen for the next thirty years.

The little balls of tortilla dough, and the tortilla press I bought when we first got here.  
I was SO excited to finally use it.

I learned a thing or two about the art of tortilla making, and about myself.  Gather round the warm comforting glow of your computer screen while I share, folks:

  • The tortilla press is a load of crap.  Bust out the rolling pin.

  • If I had shared with my professors that pictured below is my understanding of what passes for a circle in art school, I would never have gotten a degree.

  • Thank goodness nothing sticks to metal countertops, because I SUCK at remembering to flour the counter between balls.  That said, the rolling pin is not so anti-stick.  Bugger.

  • Every stove-top in Mexico has one of these griddle-space built in.  They've proven useful for all sorts of stuff, but their actual intended purpose is totally for making tortillas.

  • There is no real good way to flip a tortilla while it cooks on this incredibly hot surface except with your fingers.  Only burnt myself twice (okay, four times).

  • Warm tortillas and honey:  I challenge you to find a better food.  Ha.  You lose. 

Let's go back to rolling out 'circular' tortillas.  I struggle to think of a time I have so consistently fail-sauced, so many times in a row.  I made 36 tortillas yesterday, and I think out of all 36, the best and only circle I managed is the one pictured above with the honey.

 It ended up being a rather fun game though.  Like when you look at the clouds and try to decide what they're shaped like.  Here are some of my better finds:

I was actually really worried this was an omen.

you know you spend too much time on the internet when this 
is the first thing that pops into your mind.

And... yeah.  Sorry parents and/or relatives reading this.
I ended up re-rolling this one.

I really don't.

There's a lot of patience involved in making those little lumps of dough into perfect flat pieces of heaven.  And apparently a lot of practice.  Every little Mexican lady I've ever seen baking them make it seem SO incredibly easy.  Hmmpf.  Show offs.  Fiance and I had tacos last night to try out the first batch.  They went over okay.  I mean, they taste pretty good, but it's hard to make a taco on top of a zig-zag shaped tortilla, you know?  Guess I'll just have to make more.  *sarcastic bummer*

Did I miss a funny tortilla shape?  Point it out in the comments!

Long story short - A thousand thanks to my ATF.  And, if you're looking to get me a gift - I could use one of these.

Random Section Time!

1.  Street Cats of San Pedro Update:  Zombie was sleeping in the pile of dirty clothes in the garage (where our laundry chute opens up to, and where the washer and dryer are) and scared the crap out of both of us when I dumped said pile in the washer.  She can run like a flash of lightning!

2.  I present, with no further context or commentary, Mac's favorite way to sleep:

Does your dog sleep like this? Does your dog talk in his sleep?  
Because this is literally every night with Mac and it cracks us up.

1 comment:

Sullykins said...

I was drinking a smoothie while reading the comic...I almost had smoothie all over my keyboard!! I miss the Mac-ster and Bubba! Don't worry about the tortillas, the first couple times I made them, they didn't resemble any kind of shape...