I didn’t have a grandmother growing up. The closest thing I had to a grandmother was my Aunt May, who was my dad’s aunt.
My Aunt May was an intriguing person. She loved to dance while she cleaned her home. May loved blue jeans and jean jackets. Most importantly, she loved flour tortillas.
One of my favorite memories was being at her house on Saturday mornings. She would be making flour tortillas when I walked in so she would call me into the kitchen to help her.
“You can’t get married until you can make your future husband flour tortillas,” she would say as I rolled the tortillas. I would show my dad the finished tortillas, and he would make jokes about how they were in every shape but circle.
My priorities changed the older I got. Why would I want to make flour tortillas when I could just buy them? (Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how spoiled I was regarding homemade tortillas and how I can’t find any that taste like the ones my mom, cousin, and aunt used to make).
My Aunt May passed away in 2012.
I was asked to speak at her funeral. I talked about how she was the closest thing I had to a grandmother and her importance on learning to make flour tortillas.
A few days ago, I had a dream of my Aunt May. The dream encouraged me to try to make flour tortillas. The tortillas came out tasty, but the texture felt more like bread. (It turns out, baby Kim knew how to make tortillas better than 24-year-old Kim.) The reason they turned out like bread was that I added to much lard.
I sent a photo to my parents, and they laughed.
“Was that supposed to be Texas or California?” my mom joked. “Josiah won’t marry you until you perfect those tortillas.”
While many might find it silly to feel so emotionally connected to the act of making flour tortillas, it was the first time in years I felt close to my aunt. I have now made it a goal to create the perfect flour tortillas by the end of the year.
Will I do it? No idea, but I know it will be a great way to remember my aunt’s memory.
RIP Maria “May” C. Garza.