December 27, 2009

Forced Creativity/The Quest for the Holy Grail...

Okay, so I did a mini-vacation from the blog because of the whole Christmas thing, and I'm sure absolutely NOBODY actually noticed or cared. Except for me, and that's enough I suppose.

Anyway, the story I want to relate first takes place on Christmas Eve Eve (That's December 23rd for those of you who can't sort this stuff out). The scene: Allison (sister sib extraordinaire) and I are out trying to get all the shopping done. Also important to note is that on December 16th my class made tortillas at work and I learned how, and I was given the leftover masa mix and told where (supposedly) I could buy a tortilla press. Specifically I was told WinCo. So when Allison and I were up on 82nd in Clackamas where there's a WinCo, I decreed that we should venture in and search for the tortilla press. It was INSANE in there... way too many people and no tortilla presses.

This was a scenario that would repeat at Fred Meyer, K-Mart, Haggen, (all in Oregon City) and Wal-Mart and Mega Foods (in Woodburn). Though we were having great fun out running around shopping and trying to make an innuendo of some sort out of every street sign we saw (that was some hilarity there!), the tortilla press had become the Holy Grail of the shopping trip... none were to be found anywhere, even in a Wal-Mart where I can pretty much be the only white person in there.

I was about to give up standing despondently in the Hispanic Foods aisle of Mega Foods when lo and behold, there came a man whose son I used to teach at MES. The kid was also with him and I said hi to both of them. Then I decided there was no harm in asking, so I asked the guy (who happens to be Mexican) if he knew where in the world I might find a tortilla press. He gave me the name of a little Mexican tienda up in the "little Mexico" section of town... that strip where nearly every store and business is owned and run by Mexicans and the majority of the signage is in Spanish. If I didn't speak Spanish I might have been a little freaked about going there, but I do and so we charged on boldly to find the store.

We arrived there shortly before 9 p.m. (we had been out shopping since about 1) and they looked at us a little strangely as we wandered up and down aisles looking at the imported candy. Allison's primary comments were "What's this?" and "Can we buy some?" The place did have a number of tortilla presses, but they were wooden rather than metal and looked more decorative than functional. No Holy Grail. After almost giving up in despair even at that store, I noticed a corner window display area that we hadn't stepped into yet. And there, in a crate on the floor, were about five metal tortilla presses.

Holy Grail found. Much rejoicing in the camp.

So on Christmas Eve, the Chamaco and I made tortillas. Or I should say really he made tortillas... he rolled the dough into balls and pressed the tortillas, and I just fried the suckers up. About halfway through the tortilla making process I realized I had no idea what we were going to put on the tortillas, so I went digging through the cupboards. I found a can of chicken, a can of corn and some cheese and tossed all three into a skillet. It was surprisingly good... the Chamaco said it was the best dinner he's ever had.

Christmas came and went really quick like it always does, and I realized that we have not much food and not much money with which to buy food until approximately the 2nd of January. So tonight I've been digging around seeing what I can find to feed us for the next week or so. I went by Grocery Outlet and picked up those cheap food staples that I don't really know what to do with... dry beans, rice (the regular kind, not the Rice-a-Roni kind with flavors), some corn... going to be getting creative with that and the tortillas during the next week. We'll see how it turns out.


  1. You forgot the part where you didn't buy Allison any candy or weird white rocks that might have been edible or drugs. You also left out the part where Allison pretended to be really interested in bananas since she wasn't following the conversation too well. :D

  2. I just sort of forgot about the white rocks, okay?

    And it seems like you were following the conversation well enough to tell me what most of it was once we got in the car. ;)


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