From Lainey Sickinger
After being tired for two days, this morning I woke up well rested, and actually energized! After a hot and exhausting day in the garden, I was looking forward to something more my speed.
Last night Derona and I agreed to meet at 6:30am for coffee and breakfast bars, before heading over to the Tortillaria.
We made it by 7am sharp, shouting "Buenos Dias!"
There was no answer.
So... we sat there for about 45 minutes, watching the kids walk to school.The little ones in pigtails and tidy uniforms, giggling. The middle school aged girls, with their plaid pants, brushing their teeth or their hair as they walked. Some even asked us if we were going to make tortillas (at least we think that's what they were asking). We admitted that yes, we were. One of the American volunteers suggested it was okay she'd be around soon, it's just... "Honduran time."
It turns out the head cook (Dona Gloria) was off today, and our partner in tortilla making was one of the kids doing a year of service, "Verita." She plugged in the boom box and we got busy to the sounds of Shakira, Chris Brown, "Pit Bull" (according to Derona) and several Latin bands.
They make tortillas from scratch... really. When we walked in, the yellow and white corn kernels were soaking in large tubs of water. She put us to work draining the corn and dumping it into the grinder.
After grinding, she piled the damp piles onto the counter adn showed us what to do, expertly kneading the dough, occasionally sprinkling in some water. Then she poked it, then nodded indicating that we should touch it... so we will know how it should feel. Derona made an impressive batch, and I did as well... Verita smiled. "Perfecto!" Whew! I can cook in Latin America too!
After we made a few towering piles of dough, I was eager to use the tortilla press. Verita showed me how to do it, but she indicated it was "difficult." So I didn't get much time playing with it. Derona and I split time at the griddle. Derona rocked the griddle. Verita called her "Caliente!" I guess she was pretty good. She was certainly better than I, but it was hot over that griddle, and not the spicy kind.
Yellow tortillas flip nicely, white are more temperamental. I was impressed that no lard or oil was involved in the process except for a simple sprinkle of vegetable oil on the griddle at the onset of the process.
We flipped tortillas, sang Shakira and Maroon 5 and a lot more. We made 1000 tortillas and bagged them up for the 560 children who live here and the volunteers and workers who care for them. I would totally do that again, and Derona was a top notch partner. Everyone really should experience the satisfaction of burying their hands deeply into a batch of freshly ground, whole grain dough.