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Flour Tortilla Nostalgia

by Spicie Foodie on November 18, 2011

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The dictionary defines nostalgia as “A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” What a beautiful word, it alone evokes so many beautiful and wonderful memories from my life. Even though I haven’t always been so interested or passionate about food and what goes into preparing a meal for your loved ones, I have so many memories around food. Mexican celebrations always involve food, lots of food. Every occasion grand or as small as having a friend stop by for coffee requires food to share.

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I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunity to live in 4 different countries and visit countless. All of those countries have smells that immediately transport me back. CR, sizzling deliciously greasy sausages cooking at the many food stalls down a main square. France, warm buttery croissants for breakfast every morning. USA, My father’s fresh baked Mexican breads, my mother’s posole, and all of the amazing food my sisters cooked for me (both Mexican and American food). Mexico, the enticing smells coming from the kitchen every Monday when all of the aunts, uncles and cousins gathered at abuelita Toña’s (grandmother Antonia) house for our weekly get-together. My grandmother’s warming tea, from the leaves of her lime tree, that she made for us on those chilly rainy days. This doesn’t even touch on the foods from our travels, I could go on and on but I won’t.

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One of my fondest childhood memories is of my abuelita spoiling, in her own way, her son-in-law, that would be my Papi (father). She would hear that he was coming to visit her and went into her kitchen to prepare a special treat for my Papi. She would make him homemade flour tortillas. I never saw her do this for anyone else and often wonder if even though she is now in her 80s still makes tortillas when my father is vacationing in Mexico. Her tortillas were so soft, warm and unlike any other I have ever tasted.

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You may be wondering what the big deal is about flour tortillas, they are not commonly found in my hometown. Flour tortillas are not as common as corn tortillas on every Mexican table. They seem to be consumed the most in the northern states of Mexico and in Americanized Tex-Mex cuisine.

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My mother also makes amazing flour tortillas, and it was a special treat we had every once in a while or when we ran out of corn tortillas. I would watch my mom prepare the dough, divide it into small balls and roll them out so fast that she could almost keep up with us scarfing them down. I was too busy eating and being a rebellious teenager to see the exact ingredients and appreciate the work that goes into making flour tortillas. But at least I could acknowledge that my mother’s tortillas were the best tortillas ever made by anyone in the US, period!

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The first time I tasted commercial flour tortillas I was so disturbed that they could even be called and sold as flour tortillas, disgusting. To me they tasted and smelled like plastic, perhaps due to the preservatives. If those “tortilla” try coming in my house it usually involves me putting up a fight. Don’t get me wrong I am not passing judgement on people who buy those tortillas. I was just spolied by my grandmother and mother with incomparable tasting tortillas. I won’t lie to you though, there have been times when I’ve just been too busy or ill to make flour tortillas. So the plastic dough disks have entered my kitchen on a few occasions. But we’ll conveniently forget about those times, okay.

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It has been about 6 years since I started making my own homemade flour tortillas. My husband would agree that they are the best he’s ever had. OK, ok so my gringo husband had only tasted commercial before trying homemade, but still he would tell me if they sucked. Since my mom is so far away and I couldn’t just stop by for some lessons, I had to work hard and practice hard until my tortillas turned out perfect. Now that I’m not the smart-ass rebellious teenager I could go into the kitchen with my mom and listen to her, if only she wasn’t on the other side of the world. One day for sure, and perhaps I’ll even make her proud that I finally learned to cook, hehe.

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Though it has been 6 years, making homemade tortillas has never become boring or repetitive to me. It is because every time I reach for the flour, water, salt and oil, I think of my Papi. I think about how my grandmother knew my father is a great man, one most deserving of the best homemade flour tortillas in the world. The first bite immediately transports me to my mother’s house and the smell of the tortillas on the comal, nostalgic indeed.

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You can find my homemade flour tortilla recipe in  An Epiphany of The Senses, my cookbook.

tortilla wraps; how to; tortillas de harina; Spicie Foodie; recetaWhat is your most nostalgic food? Share in the comments, if you like. Have a great weekend everyone.

**Don’t forget to signup to November’s YBR. Deadline is the 29th!**

 

**Thank you for voting this post into Foodbuzz daily top 9. Check out the 8 other great recipes.**

 
 

in How To Basics,Mexican,Vegan/Vegetarian

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina@flourtrader November 18, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Homemade flour tortillas, in my mind, rate better than homemade sandwich bread any day! Also they have such a vast number of ways that you can incorporate them into a meal. That picture of them does look amazing and tasty. Great post.

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2 Spicie Foodie November 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM

I would have to agree with you Tina. Thank you!

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3 Kiri W. November 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

I had no idea flour tortillas were so relatively easy to make myself! I’ll definitely have to try, store-bought just never tastes as good as fresh-made.
Love the story in this post :) There are certain foods that will always evoke my dad and I in the kitchen, me with a way-too-large apron, bursting with pride I was helping him cook.

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4 Spicie Foodie November 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM

They really are Kiri. Thanks and I love your memory, sounds so cute:)

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5 Trix November 18, 2011 at 1:04 PM

What a great story! You are so lucky to have a cooking family. I have made corn tortillas, never flour – I would definitely like to, as I have had homemade (only in restaurants) and you are right, you can’t compare it to the plastic stuff! Well, my mom wasn’t much of a cook so for me nostalgic foods are foods that remind me of her, or things we ate together, or strange store bought things she “cooked” for me but that we ate together … But mashed potatoes I think are number 1. She told me that when she was pregnant with me she ate giant bowls of of them with tons of salt and butter and somehow eating that dish always makes me feel good. Now that she is gone I feel close to her when I eat them! (Too bad she didn’t each something a less carby right? lol)

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6 Spicie Foodie November 18, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Hi Trix, Thank you sweetie. Wow, that is so cool and funny :) So one can say that you’ve been comforted by mashed potatoes since you were a fetus, hehe. I’m sorry your mother is gone but here spirit is there with those beautiful memories you’ve formed. Thanks for sharing your story.

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7 Belinda @zomppa November 18, 2011 at 1:15 PM

What beautiful food traditions you have! Gorgeous tortillas – why buy them ever with these?

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8 Spicie Foodie November 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Thank you Belinda :) It’s happened but not proud of it. I wrote about it above ↑

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9 Nishi November 18, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Amazing flour tortillas. It will be next on my to do list :)

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10 Spicie Foodie November 18, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Thanks Nishi!

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11 vianney November 18, 2011 at 3:58 PM

This hands down is my fav post from you, (i’m sure there will be more in the future) I love the mention of your papi (we also call our dad papi) and your abuelita, lovely memories. Flour tortillas were one of my biggest hurdles. I so wanted them to taste like my mami’s but when I realized they never would, but still be loved I was happy. Here in South Texas flour tortillas are king!! Thank you for sharing!

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12 Spicie Foodie November 18, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Hola Vianney, Thank you and glad to hear you enjoyed it :) It seems like the most simple dishes are always the hardest.

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13 Ramona November 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM

What a beautiful post. Food can evoke such wonderful memories. I think your tortillas look absolutely perfect to me. They look so light and flaky. When you ask what food brings me fond memories… it’s got to be some kind of rice and curry meal. Yes… what do you expect from a curry girl. My mother is the best Sri Lankan cook I know and I pray that I will get her knowledge in the kitchen. I keep telling her to publish a family cookbook, but she follows no specific recipes. She’s just a pinch here and a dash there kind of cook. So I try to get her to walk me through her recipes and document them the best I can. Somehow there something always missing. She’s just go the magic touch. : ) Have a great weekend. ~ Ramona

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14 Spicie Foodie November 18, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Hi Ramona, Thank you so much :) Your mom sounds like an amazing cook. What a treat to eat her food and watch her cook. I’m sure her knowledge is inside of you too. You should totally work on a family cookbook. You too have a great weekend!

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15 claudia @whats cookin italian cuisine November 18, 2011 at 8:37 PM

I just made these for the first time hadnt had time to post them yours look fabulous and we love them will never buy them again, great job!

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16 Spicie Foodie November 19, 2011 at 8:35 AM

I can’t wait to see your tortillas Claudia! I’m so proud of you :)

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17 torviewtoronto November 18, 2011 at 9:51 PM

delicious looking presentation of the flour tortillas

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18 Spicie Foodie November 19, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Thanks!

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19 Magic of Spice November 18, 2011 at 11:43 PM

What a lovely post! Food memories are just the best, love how your abuelita spoiled your papi, with warm fresh tortillas. You would be proud of me, I am no expert and mine never look as perfect as yours, but i do make my own on many occasions :)
Hugs and love, wishing you a perfect weekend…

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20 Spicie Foodie November 19, 2011 at 8:45 AM

I am so proud of you Alisha :) I’m positive your tortillas are just perfect and yummy. Thank you and the same to you. Hugs & Love back!

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21 Liz November 19, 2011 at 11:48 AM

I can only imagine how fabulous these taste! Beautiful photos as always….

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22 Spicie Foodie November 19, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Thank you Liz!

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23 Sandra's Easy Cooking November 19, 2011 at 11:55 AM

You made them like a pro..they look absolutely gorgeous!!! Beautiful photos and such a nice post!!

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24 Spicie Foodie November 19, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Thank you Sandra!

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25 Paul November 19, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Growing up in South Texas, I too have great memories of my abuelita’s home cooking….especially her tortillas. As as an ex-pat living in Germany, I’ve had to fend for myself when it comes to Tex-Mex. I learned to make my own tortillas and I can say that they are just about perfect now. Only took me three years. I know what you mean when you say that making tortillas never gets repetitive. On some Sundays I’ll cook up a batch of tortillas and whip up some chorizo (homemade) and eggs and have an awesome breakfast. MMMM getting hungry just thinking about it.

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26 Spicie Foodie November 19, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Hi Paul, Good for you! I’m sure you’d make your abuelita proud. You have made me hungry and now I’ll have to make some chorizo too. Que rico :)

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27 Tiffany November 19, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Those tortillas are making my mouth water! And you know, I do not know that I’d be able to choose my most nostalgic food! But now I’m totally thinking about it!

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28 Spicie Foodie November 20, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Thanks Tifanny! It is tuff and I think it also depends on what one is feeling that moment :)

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29 Frank November 20, 2011 at 11:03 AM

There’s something about food memories that really go straight to the heart, isn’t there? Hard to put into words, like many of our most meaningful experiences…

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30 Spicie Foodie November 20, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Yes, Frank I couldn’t agree more.

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31 Emily @ Life on Food November 20, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Homemade tortillas are simply wonderful. You cannot get any better than that. Yours look amazing!

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32 Spicie Foodie November 20, 2011 at 4:53 PM

They sure are, glad you agree. Thank you Emily!

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33 balvinder November 30, 2011 at 6:32 PM

You seem like a professional in cooking, photography and writing. I read your post carefully enjoying every bit of it. Since gluten free I sometimes make tortillas from masa harina flour.

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34 Spicie Foodie November 30, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Thank you Balvinder :) Good for you for making your own corn tortillas, that is great.

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35 James June 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM

You got me all hungry for some of your flour tortillas and then I clicked on your link to get your book and I find that the link is NOT WORKING!!! AWWW DARN! HAHAHA! =D

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36 Spicie Foodie June 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Hi James,

Oops, sorry about the broken link. Try this link, http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=764312

Thanks:)

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