|4 Generations – My Grandma the youngest.|
Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo! The day in which I remember my Mexican heritage! My Great-Great-Great Grandmother was a full blooded mean Blackfoot Indian and lived on a reservation in Mexico, though most of my family’s ancestry derives from the Maya as those that came before me were born with the blue mark. My Grandmother found her way to America when my Great-Great Grandfather married a Caucasian woman and moved here. I always remember her telling me the story about how she never knew how to speak Spanish because her Father always said, “We’re Americans now.” I have great pride in where I come from even though that entire half of the family likes to make fun of us because our half (my Grandmother’s half) mainly looks Caucasian.
Once a month on a Sunday all of our families would get together and make our Great Grandparents enchilada recipe. My Grandmother manned the stove, My Mother and her sisters the passing of plates, the oven and the managing of the girls. Then us, the girls, as we grew old enough to sit at the table and roll hot tortillas filled with seasoned meat, tomatoes and cheese. This is the way it was for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of watching the older ladies talk amongst themselves, sipping hot coffee while they made our family tradition a dance on kitchen tiles. I could barely look over the table standing when I first got to roll the tortillas with them, an initiation of sorts into the secret society of our family’s women.
The tradition almost died with my Grandmother, years ago, although my Mother and her older sister still try to carry it on. We once were able to get three generations at the table with my Mother in my Grandmother’s place at the head of the stove. It takes a family to make the enchiladas, no one person can do it alone. It’s simple, nothing restaurant fancy, just something passed down from generation to generation for over half a century. I cannot give you my families secret spice to make them as we have all these years, but I can give you the basic form to which you can include your own family’s touch and perhaps carry them down the long road of history with you.