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2 de febrero de 2006

Frijoles de la Olla

He does it. But he does it because he misses the very things which he is far from. I've always argued that there isn't a most fervent nationalist than he or she who is an ex-pat. So he sits there in the kitchen and makes food that he used to eat at home.

It's incredible, he says, slurping and whiffing the warm Frijoles de la Olla, stewed beans, how these smells bring a comfort to this solace. At times it seems that I eat them only because I want home again. I don't know what he did most, smell or eat. Qué ricos! he said, looking satisfied.

I told to him that it was a lachrymose orgasm. The onion certainly helped along the way. Turning around, looking straight at my eyes, he said could be, as he sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on the red barro bowl where he ate, but its my only gate to the past. The thing is that he does it so often, remembers.

And its frecuency increases by the passing of the years.

First it was the hot chile peppers, jalapeños we accidently came across to when we were on our way to church. We bought them because he needed to prove that he was mexican or some concoction of sorts along those lines. Then fashion, the new chic cuisine, brought ancient maize tortillas to this unholy part of the Roman Empire. Globalization stepped in. So know he buys those pinto beans from an arab store on the other side of town. Our local grocer doesn't even know what pinto is except to quip that it has something to do with a car. He cooks them for hours, already from a day before and engages in those memory rituals. He sits there y los expulga, like he says, that is, he goes through them one by one. He only keeps the nice ones and throws out the imperfect ones or dirty ones. A process, he said, that he saw his mother do. Mother would sit there, he told me one day, rinsing and cleansing out the beans for hours right before we went to bed. Frijoles de la Olla. Nothing like them. Nothing like him.

Like and Aztec priest, sacrificing the present for the glory of the Gods of the past.

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