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She is a real-life Tita from Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water For Chocolate…a must read for all Foodies) – she was born to cook.When my Grandma, Maria Elucresia Herrera, entered the world “early,” in October of 1922, she weighed only 3 pounds.
After the meat is cooked (so that it falls apart and shreds easily), remove from pot, set aside to cool, and puree the onion and garlic with the broth. Season shredded meat with chili powder, salt, and cumin (optional) to taste.
So, as the story goes, my great-grandmother, Jesusita, wrapped her little Maria up, and placed her in a shoebox near the wood-burning stove to keep warm.
Well, this sweet little thing had plenty of fire in her blood, and has been thriving ever since. As soon as she could climb on a stool to reach the cupboards and stove, she was making biscuits for her father, Elfido Herrera.
At 17, while her brothers labored in the fields, Maria cooked for them and the other workers.
In this part of the world, you could bet on a steaming pot of creamy pinto beans that had been cooked all day, potatoes fried with onions, and stacks of soft, warm, handmade tortillas.
Stephanie and David, our dear American friends are the best example.
Over the two years they lived in our neighborhood, the term hospitality got redefined: Our very first dinner together at the Greek place just around the corner transformed into an ecstatic party with lots of broken porcelain, the ultimate food shopping tips were exchanged over hot chocolates at not short of the one or other recipe.
This process is called nixtamalization and was developed in Mesoamerica, and used to sustain Aztec and Mayan warriors.
Tamal filling varies widely depending on the region, and the creation comes wrapped in a corn husk or some type of leaf.
My grandparents have always had a little garden where they grow the chilies, onions, and garlic that make their way into the tamales.
Through the years, with seven children, 18 grandchildren, and now two great-grandchildren pulling at her apron strings, she has perfected her tamales.
He passed away when she was just six, and her mother followed just ten years later.