How to Make a Tortilla

As we enter the growing season I’m making tortillas with the remnants of last year’s crop. The corn is active with gorgojos and the dust of their munching. Most of them float to the surface to be skimmed off during cooking, the rest we accept as additional protein .

I begin to look forward to fresh corn at this time even though the seed is not yet in the ground, and to reflect on the marvel of this small hot air balloon of masa whose recipe I am honored to know by heart.

How to Make a Tortilla

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Bomba

Bomba went blind because he had 24 fingers and toes; an extra digit on each appendage. Actually, it was the amputation the caused the blindness. His grandmother chopped them off with a machete. He was eight month’s old. He says she didn’t like the way they looked; they looked bad. When asked whether she meant bad, as in evil (belief in witchcraft  is prevalent in La Tigra), or aesthetically bad. He says, “Just bad.”

I remember well the first time I saw Bomba. I could tell immediately there was something unusual about him, but it was hard to determine what it was. Was he blind? He walked all over La Tigra unaided, but strangely, maybe it had something to do with his feet? After hearing his story I realized it was both. Continue reading

Jacking the Light

This is the first in a week-long series of excerpts from my work in progress.

When we built our home we were advised to bypass the electric company for the initial installation of electricity. We were told it was so problematic to deal with them that we would wait months for service. The best course of action was to hire an electrician to install our electricity, and wait for the company to find our illegal hookup. They then cut your line, come to negotiate a payment plan and reconnect you. I didn’t like the idea of stealing service, but since we had been doing business in Mexico for five months we knew that dealing with any company was difficult, and we did not want to wait months for light.

Felipe bought 1200 meters of electric cable Continue reading