It’s morning and I’ve finally woken at a decent time, though I still can’t sleep at night for the silence. I miss that L.A. lullaby of police sirens, music, traffic, voices, dogs barking and the Santa Anas ratting my window panes on a windy night. I’m sitting on my bed still a little sleepy, wondering what to wear and thinking of those cold mornings in Atwater Village where the creaking of ancient hardwood floors would wake me and the smells of breakfast drifting from the kitchen would lure me out of my cocoon of blankets.
One of my favorite things my grandmother would cook was huevos con chile, scrambled eggs with salsa. She’d wake up early, about 5am and throw open all the windows and doors to let the fresh air in. She’d then go outside and water all her flowers and plants while my grandfather irrigated his garden. From my bed, I would hear the water, feel the dewy morning chill and snuggle in to sleep a little more. Safe, comforting sounds. I’d wake again to the creaking of the floorboards, the rattling of pots and then the smells.
Sometimes I’d jump out of bed and run to help in the kitchen. I’d see the comal going with tomatoes and chiles on it and know she was making salsa. My grandfather would be there in the kitchen with his rolling pin dusted in flour, rolling out those massive flour tortillas he loved to make. He worked powerfully and fast. A quick three turns of the pin and he would have this huge tortilla that barely fit the comal. I never failed to be amazed by how giant they were and he never tired of showing off for me.
My grandmother would put the molcajete in front of me and the peeled chiles, tomatoes and a few other things like roasted garlic cloves, translucent quarters of onion. She’d start grinding the chile mixture while i stripped cilantro stems of their leaves and flowers. She then would take about half of the freshly made salsa over to the stove where she’d scramble eggs and then pour in the salsa which sent off this luscious, spicy steam that made my mouth water. Before I knew it, there’d be a plate in front of me with eggs colored red and green from the salsa, a scoop of beans with cheese, maybe fresh slices of avocado, cantaloupe or papaya with lime and one of my Papa’s mega tortillas.
The first bite always tickled my tongue and put a smile on my face. The eggs were always perfect, the tortillas fluffy and warm, and the best part was my grandmother finally sat down and I could jabber at her, my Aunt Jessie and my Papa while we ate. What did we talk about? Why food of course, recipes we wanted to try, how the chiles were growing in the garden and how many rows of cilantro there were.
What are your favorite memories of breakfasts?