I don't think I have ever reposted anything here before because I want to keep content relevant, but with the creation of FamilySearch recipes, I knew that I wanted to include this somewhere. I wrote this for a FamilySearch assignment and the idea of food been an heirloom and tradition has resonated with me the last couple of years, especially when so many of us have few or no physical heirlooms passed down to us. The reality for me is that the greatest lessons learned or memories I have are associated with food preparation or meals. They are the stories I want to record and share. To get us started here is a little thought about tortillas being an heirloom.
"As I looked at the small wire glasses found in Aunt May’s belongings I wondered who they had once belonged to. They looked like my great-grandfather Ralph’s, but I couldn’t be sure, and I knew that there might never be a way to know for sure. I snapped a picture and set them back in the fragile little box.
That was some months ago, and the little wired glasses are still in the back of my mind as I think about the heirlooms and treasures that I see displayed in other people’s homes. The small little pieces of the past that become part of our stories today. What treasures do I have? What part of history and heirlooms can I share with my children I ask as I make their favorite breakfast: chorizo with fresh homemade tortillas? I suddenly stopped and looked at that simple tortilla and realized that without even knowing it I was already sharing an heirloom each time I mixed the masa for a new batch of tortillas.
I learned to make tortillas from my mother. She learned from her mother, who learned from her mother and so on. In my life, I have rolled tortillas not only with my mother and grandmother but as a child with my great grandmother in her kitchen in Mexico. Laughter and wisdom have been imparted with the push of a rolling pin and the smell of heaven cooking on the griddle. Personal stories of faith, like the widow’s mite, are intricately tied to a single food that can be eaten with everything.
I do not have my great grandmother’s rolling pin; I don’t know if anyone does. Even if it were still around only one person in her vast number of descendants could treasure it. But I smile because I don’t need that actual rolling pin to remember the stories of sorrow or the triumphs over difficulty to have an heirloom in my life. Treasures can vanish as I remember my grandmother telling me about the great flood that destroyed her small town. Records, photographs, homes washed away as the river rose, but resilience and faith through even greater trials are now interwoven into my life through her experiences.
The sound of laughter brings my thoughts back to the present. I look over at my girls now and focus on their conversation as they are rolling out the tortillas for breakfast. A new generation of strong women is learning and growing with a little flour dust sprinkled on their cheeks and the light sound of rolling pins on the counter. My stories are now intermixed with the generations before me, and they are shaping the lives of my children all with a simple tortilla that I can share with everyone."
NOTE: It's amazing what I have learned in 18 months since I wrote this and the things I want to share. The original post is here with additional links.