El Comal

The smell of warm Tortillas entices my nostril causing me to float to the kitchen almost every morning that I can remember since I was a child. No matter what the occasion was, someone was heating Tortillas on the “comal.” Even our version of Thanksgiving had warm tortillas that attract hands from all around the table. This very comal, which is an iron skillet, has been in my family from before I was born and was bought in Guanajato, Mexico where my parents are from. I learned to flip tortillas on this comal and have burnt my fingers many times learning to. When I think of culture, it leads me to food, and there is nothing as soothing as a warm flour tortilla. When I bite into a tortilla, especially when queso fresco is layered over it, with auguacate y chile, I taste my culture. I close my eyes and feel as if I am in Mexico with warm and humid air tickling my face as the sounds come alive within the confides of my kitchen. I hear mariachi playing, I hear roosters crowing, I smell the street food of my small Mexican town. However, I am not in Mexico or even in my barrio in California, I am in a non-hispanic area of New York City. Nonetheless ever since I have moved out I have bought a different comal, which doesn’t equate yet suffices with heating up my daily breakfast that usually consists of tortillas; corn or flour or wheat, with cheese or with beans. I know one day I will go back to Guanajuato and buy the perfect comal that I will be heating my children’s’ tortillas with.

Year: 1993

– Angel Alvarez Vera

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