I’ve known him my entire life, and today he’s in the hospital in Albuquerque, fighting a medical battle that may not have a happy ending. It makes me incredibly sad to think of him not being around to read my blog posts about New Mexico, and so today, this one is just for you Lloyd.
It’s all about tortillas. Lloyd and I used to have rather heated debates about how we handle our tortillas. He swore that the way people ate their tortillas was totally cultural. I told him that it was a matter of personal taste. We’d have these discussions while sitting down to a bowl of Dorothy’s chile beans. With tortillas, of course. And he’d say in his big gruff voice, ‘You need to write a blog post about it. I bet you’d get everyone talking about how they hold their tortilla!”
Here’s what Lloyd does: He tears off half a tortilla, an entire handful, folding it in half and then using it like a scoop, spooning his green chile stew into the open end and eating the entire thing in two bites. Lloyd is a big guy, El Guapo to those of us who know him well, and devouring half a tortilla in a gulp is totally his style.
Not me. I like to tear off a palm-sized piece of the tortilla and spoon my food onto the open faced bit, holding the end closed with my thumb and forefinger. It takes me exactly three tortillas to get through a medium green chile stew and western style hash browns at the Frontier.
My friend Charlotte tears her tortilla into tiny bites, dropping them right into her stew, letting them get even softer in the broth before she scoops everything up on her spoon.
My friend Anna Marie used to tear her tortilla into quarters, dipping the corner into the broth and eating the tortilla with nothing other than a little juice dripping from it.
And then there are the purists, the folks who just butter their tortillas hot off the griddle and don’t worry about eating them with anything else. That makes me hungry for a tortilla right now. Fresh from some Abuela’s griddle.
Here’s to Lloyd and all his story ideas. I’m going to Albuquerque tomorrow to try to entice him to eat a pile of freshly made tortillas. I’m not 100% sure of what’s ailing him, but I’m pretty sure a hot tortilla may just be the cure he needs.
How do you hold your tortilla?