Friday, April 3, 2009

The Tortilla Crisis &, um, Happy 39 Weeks!

I am a serious corn tortilla hoarder.

Another Friday has come, and with it the end to another week of pregnancy (Thank God).

How callaced and bitter do I sound and it's not even my due date?!

Nobody really tells you about the dark side of pregnancy - those last mortifyingly endless weeks of heavy and constant anticipation. Or maybe if they do tell you, you're still so far stuck in the pink cloud of early-pregnancy euphoria that you refuse to listen and assume they're just bitter and pathetic. I'm pretty sure that's what I did anyway, but now I know they weren't lying. I am humbled by my own deluded willingness to believe that I would never reach this stage (especially knowing my own impatience).

Yes, it's "Happy" 39 weeks - but I have to be completely honest, I'm a little less than on cloud (3)9. Not that I'm angry or bitter, I'm just frustrated and impatient. And I think I am allowed to say that without seeming really horrible, because (in all honesty) the impatience and readiness to have this baby does not in any way lessen the excitement and happiness I feel about it.

On that note - I figured it was about time for a little pictorial bump update. Here's the midge and m
e last week, in the kitchen, as usual. O Sole Mio and all that jazz.

38 weeks and still smiling.

* * *

On a somewhat unrelated but almost equally important note, there is one other big reason (besides my entirely-selfish impatience) why Ludovictus needs to get his butt out into the open air: I have reached a serious corn tortilla crisis.

It is a little known fact (because nobody seems to care) that the UK is pretty much completely and utterly devoid of good corn tortillas (my personal crack cocaine). What they sell (in copious amounts) are these wretched things they refer to as "wraps." They come in all sorts of ridiculous "Mexican" flavors like "salsa," "cumin" or "chili & jalapeno." *insert mini gag noise here*

I'm sorry, but if I wanted badly made flour tortillas, I'd whip up a batch myself. My grandmother and her family are from the north of Mexico and I'm willing to bet my first attempt at their staple starch would STILL be better than the crap Tesco sells.

Yes, I freakin' do judge people who use "fajita kits." Because if they'd tasted the real thing, they would too!

I could go on about this for pages and pages (and probably will at a later date), so I'll stop here, but if you want to see what "Mexican Food" means to most British people, simply take a gander at this website and see the constant hell I have to endure when trying to make some comfort food.

If it's not sh*tty products, then it's blatantly ignorant portrayals of "Mexicans" on packaging and the media.
Sadly,I buy these chips every week from Tesco. Love the um, mustard bottle (wtf?) in his "belt."

There is actually one tortilla machine in the UK (called "El monstruo"), located at a decent restaurant in Notting Hill. But they're version of corn tortillas is as good as biting into stale cardboard. Your tacos crack, your huevos rancheros are impossible to cut through. You have to sell an organ to be able to afford them. No good for anyone involved.

For these and many other reasons, I basically force my mother to break international customs laws and bring me copious amounts of my favorite corn tortillas straight from Texas whenever she comes to visit. This usually means that half of one entire large suitcase is lined with pre-portioned ziplock bags containing pre-frozen corn tortillas from H.E.B. It is always a big production when she gets here to unpack as quickly as possible and transfer the loot to my freezer, where I carefully ration and hoard them until her next (or our next) scheduled visit to the US.

Sadly, pregnancy has made me less than careful with my rationing. Usually I'm a pretty strict totalitarian with regards to household corn tortilla usage. Matt is typically relegated to the Tesco Slighly Salted Tortilla Chips (see above) or bread, being a hopeless gringo at heart (unless he really demands tortillas). He just doesn't show me the kind of orgasmic culinary joy I expect when I toast my little preciouses by hand on the gas stove to eat with a Mexican meal (probably made with my also-rationed salsa verde and Sazon Goya).

Point being: today I used two of the last four tortillas in the last package of rationed corn tortillas that were in the freezer. And mom doesn't arrive for baby's arrival until the 13th of April. Can you really blame me for the less than chipper post?!

Happy Friday!

Eat a corn tortilla for me, especially you lucky bastards in the Southwest and California. :)
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  1. You poor thing, I feel your pain. It's been a few years but we did find three Texmex restaurants in London. There was one right in Leicster Square, near the movie theatre. Another one in a basement near Convent Garden and the best one off Trafalgar square. You're right, they weren't great and they were all very expensive.

    Hang in there,these will be the last few boring days you'll have for a long time. I wish you all the best and hope your Mom makes it through customs!

  2. You are the picture of health and happiness, despite the impending shortage of tortillas! I wish I could help out but all I can do is offer words of encouragement to hang in there - when your Mom arrives with provisions, they'll taste ever so much better.

    My personal "heritage food abyss" is, of course, Filipino - there are Asian cuisines of all kinds here in MN but not a single Pinoy place. But that's fine - it's been a great excuse for me to learn how to cook it myself. Perhaps in a future post, you'll show us how you manage to make your comfort food with what subpar ingredients you have to work with!

  3. When I was in Merida, I got to learn how to make tortillas and after tasting them fresh off the griddle there is absolutely no comparison. I feel your culinary pain. Growing up in the Midwest, my first exposure to Mexican food was Taco Bell - or Taco Hell as we used to say. Boy was it a wonderful surprise to discover the Mexican restaurants of California and learn what Mexican food more closely resembled. Although I have to say my first trip to Tijiuana left me thinking Taco Bell had highlighted the best food but I suspect it was my restaurant selection.

    I know the woman that was the marketing/PR manager for one of those TexMex restaurants - she said before they opened they were simply referred to as American restaurants. Huh? We have more to offer than that, but I am sure its the same for you when you see everything put in such broad catagories.

    Hang in there. I can only imagine what a challenge this is.