These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

tortillas prevail

last monday i wrote an article in the life&style section in our paper about toritillas.

i'd broached the idea to cheri and she agreed. i don't know why, i just thought it'd be cool to write something about cooking.

it was set up. i wrote the story. i had dennis come over to the house and he videotaped me and took some photos of me while i was preparing the flour tortillas. the package turned out really nice in the paper. the video, equally, turned out pretty good (at least that's what people have told me).

the article wasn't simply a recipe on how to make them. i started out by explaining where i learned how to make them. they've been a part of my life since i was a kid. my mom made (and still makes) tortillas. so does my grandmother and aunts. they all have their own recipes. i enjoy them all. if you blindfolded me and asked me to sample a tortilla cooked by a relative, i could probably tell you who cooked it.

anywy, i talked about that, then got into the recipe, explaining how it was done.

well, let me say, i've never gotten so much response (or at least it's been some time) over something i've written. i got one e-mail and no voicemails, but people ave approached me on the street and in the office.

one woman at the office said her son wants her to buy a comal (gridle). he saw the picture of me holding it up. he has hispanic friends and sees his friends' mothers cooking on them. so he wants one and wants his mom to learn to cook them.

another woman went out and bought one after reading the article. she said her grandmother lived with her for some weeks or months before she died. but she never got the recipe since the grandmother did it all without a recipe. the's going to clip the article and follow it.

and just random people said they enjoyed the article. a former councilman that i talked to friday said he enjoyed reading it. he said it's a simple recipe that doesn't require many ingredients.

our summer intern went out and made the recipe a few days after the article was published. he said they turned out good.

andrea, a reporter at work, received the most points on some tests i'm having the reporters do. as an incentive, i'll bake or do something for the winner of the tests. she wanted a dozen flour tortillas for her camping trip. and i baked them.

it's taken off really good. i'd no idea it would get this reaction. i'm glad people are interested in it. it tells me people are interested in cooking an baking and will read the articles.

i've presented several more ideas to cheri and will do another recipe this coming week. this time it's bean empanadas (been turnovers). very simple and very delicious.

after that, i've got a few more up my sleeve, including pan de campo and my grandmother's cornbread recipe (with jalapenos).

i'm excited.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

a respite from the heat

there's a change in the air today. the heat and humidity had been pretty rough this past week. i'd go to work in the mornings and arrive sweaty. not particularly pleasant.

today, though, it feels like fall. well, early fall. the air is cool and fresh and there is no humidity. feels greeeeeat! we did some yard work and it seemed to not affect me at all.

weith this type of weather, it means that fall is on its way. i see the plants and flowers looking less vibrant than they looked a month ago. they're still going, but the flowers are gone from most of the plants. it's a shame that their beauty lasts for a few shorts months before it's done and the harshness of winter. all the better to keep them looking nice.

and so despite what is looming in the next few months -- the prelude to old man winter -- i'm enjoying today.

yesterday was similar. it was fresh, though not as much as today. and i didn't do as much i'd liked.

friday, we went to saugatuck. i'm unsure of the exact name of the place, but i think it's called butler street boys club. dawnie stayed behind and i went to denise and mig and lisa. it was aida's birthday and we met up with her and a friend there. it was a hoot. there was a guy playing piano adn sining and the crowd joined along, drinking, clapping and having a great time.

when i go to saugatuck, i get the feeling of being transported into another place and time far from west michigan. it certainly has a different feel than holland. i like it. the people there look, act and feel different. there's such a devil-may-care attitude that i feel when i'm there. people act like themselves.

the whole fo butler street and other side streets are alive with music and sounds, people walking or stumbling, talking or yelling, laughing. i've never been to bourbon street, but maybe it's a small midwestern version of that. i dunno. i'd like to think it is. either way, i really enjoy it.