Tortillas de harina
I had an odd moment of either inhuman awareness or understanding this morning. I think it might be speaking to modern ethnic/ gender relations, but I'm not sure...
Yesterday, I had my significant other-- a 51-year-old blue-eyed white boy of Irish-Bohemian and English stock-- help me make tortillas de harina. In a fit of "I wanna get this done and be distracted from a death in the family", I just used Quaker masa preparada for the masa, kneading it to a nice smooth mass. I rolled out the first, almost-always-lopsided tortilla, then told him to get to rolling while I tended the cast-iron skillet for cooking them.
Interestingly, he rolled several nicely round ones. Granted, he also rolled a bell-shaped one and together we mangled one into the shape of Nevada, but he really did very well and we munched em all down with bastardized veggie taco filling, pickled garlic and chiles, and butter.
What I found revealing this morning was how easily he slid into the maternal/ Mexiccan role of tortilla maker. He was even good at it, and this morning it returned me to a grad school space in which I worked on la cocina as a site of resistance to overweening racist patriarchal structures. I even read a bit on it this morning while my kids were doing a test: Tey Diana Rebolledo has a nice chapter on it called "Constructing identities as Writers" in her 1995 book Women Singing in the Snow.
Naturally, at least to me, this bears more on Chicana life and writing than it might for males, but watching Bear work that masa and rolling pin revealed that the kitchen space might also be for men, and not just as a place to break open a Bud. Countless political meetings occur with food, around food, or are about food-- remember pie contests? How many of us have seen politicians eating at some Iowa pork roast or something? Just how much embedded in the kitchen and cooking is politics in our country?
I'm still thinking this over. Meanwhile, I leave you with this:
There is nothing
(Gloria Gonzales, NM poet)