Mana Titina was such a good tortillera

By Larry Torres
Posted 9/12/19

Canutito was waiting en la cocina una tarde. He was so hungry pero no había nada para comer. He was dreaming de comer algo bueno como fried potatoes con potted meat. Pero la Grama Cuca estaba en el …

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Mana Titina was such a good tortillera

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Canutito was waiting en la cocina una tarde. He was so hungry pero no había nada para comer. He was dreaming de comer algo bueno como fried potatoes con potted meat. Pero la Grama Cuca estaba en el otro lado de la kitchen trying to make dough para hacer tortillas.

She called over to Canutito y le dijo: "M'hijo, bring el bolillo de cristal que está en el cajoncito."

Canutito had never heard de un crystal rolling pin pero it sounded como algo bien fancy. As he rummaged through the drawer, Grama Cuca was saying: "Aquí en Northern New Mexico, un 'rolling pin' is called 'un bolillo' pero in southern New Mexico it is called 'un palote.' We use it para destender the dough flat."

Canutito looked por todo el cajoncito trying to find 'un bolillo de cristal' pero no hallaba nada. Grama Cuca came over, miró en el cajoncito and she exclaimed: "Aquí está." She fished out una botella vacía de Alka-Seltzer. Canutito just looked at the empty Alka-Seltzer bottle con curiosidad pero no podía ver 'a crystal rolling pin' en esa botella vieja that was perfectly cylindrical and it could roll muy fácil.

Grama Cuca made unos testales de la masa on the table. She took the little balls of dough y después que había hecho dust la botella de Alka-Seltzer with a little bit of flour, she began to roll out unas tortillas. When the tortillas were stretched out un poquito, she patted them entre sus manos and she slapped them down arriba de la estufa to cook.

Canutito gazed at the tortilla dough cooking on top of the stove and he asked: "Grama, how did you learn cómo usar una botella vieja de Alka-Seltzer in such a clever way?"

"I learned cómo usar una botella vacía de Alka-Seltzer like a bolillo from a smart lady que yo conocí," Grama Cuca said. "She was known as 'Mana Titina'," grama concluded.

"¿Titina?" Canutito asked, smiling. "¿Qué clase de nombre es 'Titina' para una mujer inteligente? It sounds more como the kind of a name you would call a little girl."

Grama Cuca flipped las tortillas en la estufa to their opposite sides, porque cada tortilla tiene su lado.

She smiled: "Actually, el nombre de la mujer inteligente was 'Cristina' pero when she was little girl, no podía decir, 'Yo me llamo Cristina,' so she would say, 'Yo me llamo Titina,' de manera que the people just gave her the name Titina." She put the tortillas to cool arriba de un trapo and Canutito leaned down to sniff them on top of the dish towel.

"Besides making unas buenas tortillas con un bolillo de cristal hecho de una botella vacía de Alka-Seltzer, what else did Mana Titina do that made her smart?"

"Ella usaba bright yellow dresses para hacer coax out the sun con esos túnicos amarillos. A veces she would wear ropa colorada because red clothing kept her from getting 'melárchica' as she used to say. 'Melárcica' means 'melancholy or very sad'. A veces people used to wear red después de un funeral para no estar tristes. As I said, Mana Titina era una mujer bien smartota," grama concluded bringing out some chokecherry jelly y una poca de mantequilla para comer con las tortillas.

Canutito was barely listening to lo que la Grama Cuca estaba diciendo. Él estaba ocupado spreading jalea de capulín and lots of butter en su tortilla fresca y calentita.

"Yo creyo que Mana Titina era una genius en la cocina!" Canutito said, lambiéndose los dedos. Se hizo smack los lips. …

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