Tortillas Instead of Forks?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] Plus, praise for a town in Northern Arizona

DEAR MEXICAN: My husband is a Chicano, and his parents are from Mexico. Why do Mexicans eat tortillas with every meal? My husband eats them with everything you put in front of him. I also noticed he uses his tortilla as an eating utensil. Do Mexicans purposely teach their children to not use forks and spoons? Do all Mexicans use tortillas as little shovels? I guess even when they're eating, they're working.

The Tortilla Shoveler's Wife

DEAR GABACHA: I'll wax more poetic about tortillas in my coming book about the history of Mexican food in the United States (out May 2012, cabrones—start saving those pesos!), but the short answer is simple: Cucharas y tenedores are fine, but few pleasures are better than tearing off a piece of a tortilla, grasping it with your fingers and using it to shovel down food. Tortillas have been part of Mexican culture for thousands of years, the one constant throughout our turbulent millennia. They're nutritious, utilitarian and don't need washing. Only Jesus is more perfect—why do you think He likes to show His face on tortillas?

 

GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK: A whole town. Consider the following letter:

Last fall, Flagstaff's Museum of Northern Arizona hosted the seventh annual Celebraciones de la Gente, partnering with the local organization Nuestras Raíces, which is based around the historic Hispanic families of Flagstaff. The weekend focused on the celebration of Día de los Muertos, but included music, dance, art, even formal presentations: Zarco Guerrero on the artist Lalo Guerrero and discussions by Carlos Velez-Ibanez (director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University) and Miguel Vasquez (anthropology professor at Northern Arizona University). I particularly enjoyed the ofrendas set up around the museum courtyard by Flagstaff families. These were attended by family members (often three generations) who answered questions and told their family histories—a wonderful opportunity to learn some history and culture, not from professors or books, but from our neighbors.

So . . . a shout-out to our Museum of Northern Arizona and only somewhat less directly to our little town of Flagstaff. It ain't utopia here, but we're doing pretty well as a pocket of sanity in a state sporting the meanest gun-slinging sheriff in America, a governor dumber than Palin and a state legislature bent on taking us down the road to madness.

One Old, Straight, White Man Who Still Thinks We're All in This Together

DEAR GABACHO: Gracias for the reminder that sane people do live in Arizona because between Arpayaso, Jan Brewer and Russell Pearce, your state is a couple of beans short of a burrito. Also, the Flagstaff City Council voted to oppose Senate Bill 1070. Book a vacation up there, folks, and people who are interested in the Museum of Northern Arizona can visit online at musnaz.org.

 
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11 comments
astrevino
astrevino

hey that was the i was race.. my grand ma would give the first one... hot off the pan with nothing but butter.....love and rember those day's......

Davelis
Davelis

sorry typo can't not con't call everyone......

Davelis
Davelis

Dear Ask a Mexican, do you really know the meaning of "GarabachoGabacho"? This term as you refer to all non-mexicans (who by the way are Caucasian) is in fact a Spanish word (I mean from Spain, not Mexico) meaning "Frenchie". Unless you know for sure the person is of French (I might add also Latin) decent you should refer to people as to what name they left for you. Your racists and ethnic comments are appaulling but funny to read as it shows you ignorance to your culture. And by the way my Hellenic culture has been around long before yours but we con't call everyone "malaka"

ElratonV25
ElratonV25

I LIKE TORTILLAS! I instantly cut them up in little pieces to use them as "shovels" to eat my solid foods - not soups hehehe.

Ray Macias
Ray Macias

Dear tortilla shoveler's wife, if your husband seems to be working when he eats, HE IS actually!, as a part of our culture, WE are always working !, we eat on the go to seize the day for the regular misery salary we have been historically working for. not only in Mexico but in our ''host'' countries as well. Sorry but ther'es no time for a full set of tableset utensils, besides... there are cultures that uses no utensiles at all. Love your husband!

Pallanae
Pallanae

Dinner on my first date with my now husband was at an Indian restaurant where he explained how "his people" eat their food with a pieces of roti, not utensils. Nothin' new to this Mexicana. Love at first mouthful...so to speak.

Jaime
Jaime

One of the great joys of living full-time in Mexico is the constant availability of freshly made corn tortillas. ¬°Que padre!

Jaime in Morelia

Turnbu11
Turnbu11

Morelia, my heart still glows these many years later when I remember my visit. !que hermosa! Y el pueblo, !tan simpaticos! (grammatical corrections would be most appreciated)

Turnbu11
Turnbu11

"I also noticed he uses his tortilla as an eating utensil." and the problem is ....

909Jeff
909Jeff

I think the better question is why she hasnt embraced this? As I mentioned to you before Gustavo I am a gabacho married to a latina and not many things tug at my culinary heartstrings like waking up to a giant plate of chorizo and eggs (Over easy) and using a tortilla to kill myself slowly one bite at a time literally cleaning the plate with the remains of the tortilla like a zamboni. Embrace it... Become a tortilla shoveler. you'll thank yourself!

together
together

YES thats what i say we are still in this together

 
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