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by Celia Sanchez about a year ago in humanity
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Love and Food

I still remember the first time I ever smelled my first batch of migitas. I was little must have been maybe 3 or 4, and was walking by the kitchen, my mom was cutting up some tomatoes that looked extra juicy on a white plastic cutting board. I remember sitting at the countertop mesmerized by that color. She cut up the tomatoes then grabbed some corn tortillas and with her hands started shredding them, I distinctly remember the sizzling of the pan as the shreds of tortilla hit the pan.

My mother never did like cooking but when she cooked something that she enjoyed you could tell by how she would prep that it was going to taste good. She would let the tortillas fry in oil for a while until the oil was soaked into the tortilla. She then would add the tomatoes right away.

As soon as she added the egg, then add a little bit of salt, the egg would turn red, so so red. I always hated tomatoes, but o how I loved migitas. It didn't matter what we ate them with even if it was just with eggs. There was something about them that made it feel like home. It also would remind me of the very few times I would visit my grandma from my mom's side. My abuelita Ramona.

My mom's family is from Matamoros, Tamaulipas. It's the border of Brownsville, TX. I never knew why but we would hardly ever visit that side of the family. All I knew is that I loved visiting my grandma, she was always so happy and loving. She was also very good at scaring the crap out of me when I'd see her yell at my grandpa from one room to the next. My grandpa was a heavy smoker. He once showed me how to count dominoes. He was a gambler and you could tell because he showed so much passion and pride in explaining how the game worked. He cussed like a sailor but he loved me and I could tell lol.

I remember the first time I watched my grandma make migitas she was making homemade tortillas. mmmmm how I loved watching her make the masa and the smell of that corn tortilla when it was coming out of the comal with some butter, it was to die for.

Their home was a small home, and it was a very poverty-stricken area, I remember being little and seeing holes in the ceiling, wondering how it was that they would work it out when it rained, I thought it was weird how we would have to carry a bucket and flush the toilet with a pail of water or heat up the water in order to shower.

I have a memory of asking my mom once, why my grandma's house looked like that, and she told me that they were working on fixing it. As a little girl and even present time, I was always asking all sorts of questions, I needed to know everything, and everything was always WHY.

I remember being about 8 and being at my grandma's house visiting she always had dolls for me, she had a little store where she'd sell sodas and chips and stuff to the local neighborhood people. I loved going over and always looked forward to the new doll she'd have. (as I got older I was about 14, I still would accept those dolls lol) My grandma would tell me, "You're not too old for these mijita, are you?" and I'd smile and say "no buelita, gracias". I had a box full of the ones I collected over the years. It just made me happy to know they were from her and that it was her gift to me every time I'd come to visit. I didn't care, to me, those dolls meant more than that.

It was around maybe when I was 10 years old, that I remember my grandma actually thinking I was ashamed of her because of her home, she was having a conversation with my mom about how we could stay with one of my aunt's if we wanted to because they had running water, I remember my mom asking me if I wanted to stay over there and I looked at my grandma I saw her face and thought, but why? so my mom said she would go and stay with my aunt, and I looked at my mom sort of in disbelief and said, "well I'm staying with my grandma", my grandma explained that it was cold and I'd have to get up at night and go fill the bucket, and I told her "it's ok, it's no problem", she looked at me and smiled, I remember that night when she was prepping where I would sleep she was tucking me in and getting an extra layer of blankets putting some wood in their heater, slowly making her way to the bed. She sat down and pulled back my hair and she told me, "tienes un corazon noble mija, nunca cambies tu forma de ser, eso es bueno tener y muy raro encontrar". (translation: "you have a noble heart mija, never change the way you are, that's good to have and very rare to find") she kissed my forehead and said goodnight.

Every time I eat migitas, it brings warmth to my heart because it reminds me of my beautiful grandma and even though she never had much (materialistic wise) throughout her life, she always did bring a smile to my face and I absolutely loved watching her do all the things she loved doing. Loved watching her tend to her garden, loved watching her feed the chickens, loved her little tunes she'd sing along to on the radio and the chats I remember having with her. Wherever she is, I hope she knows I still think of her every single time I make them and every once in a while, I'll look at her picture and smile at her.


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Celia Sanchez

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