Cloud Eating: The Power Of Homemade Tortillas


By Araceli Esparza and Karl Christenson | March 12, 2020

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(Photo by medea_material)

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Many of us have strong memories tied to making food with our families. Writer Araceli Esparza shares a poem about the bonds that are nurtured while making fresh, fluffy tortillas from scratch.

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Cloud Eating

She gets the flour,

She gets the flour and the salt,

She gets the flour, the salt, and the water.

Hungry for my cloud tortillas.

Waiting feels like a year.

The water, the flour and the salt in a bowl, she begins.

Hungry, Hunger rumbles in my tummy.

She folds in the parts of my cloud and tells the dough how much I will love what it will become.

Pitter Patter, thump thun, everyone comes down the stairs and now we all squeeze in to watch. Josita, Tommy, Lupita and even little Juanito!

On the table.

She rolls the little ball of masa.

Will I get my own?

Then she centers the masa ball on the tortilla press, pulls down the down lid and presses hard.

Pat, pat with her manos!

Five kids watching, waiting, will I get my own?

Smack on the comal on the stove.

“Dale vuelta Tia! Give it a turn, Tia!” We all whisper shout.

Little Juanito begin to whine, my cloud tortilla dream begins to evaporate.

Couple of turns and browning,

Bubbles form, will they Burn?

My cloud tortilla was done all fluffy light and warm.

Tia asks who wants the first tortilla.

Everyone answers, “Me, me, me, me!”

But I say, “Yo porfavor!”

Tia gives me the puffy treat I’ve been waiting for and I float to the ceiling.

I spread a butter Moon on top of my tortilla, but I see Little Juanito and I, roll it up,

And I give it to him, and I show him how the Cloud Eating is done.

Araceli Esparza

Araceli Esparza is a poet, writer, and teacher based in Madison. She is an MFA graduate from Hamline University, with strong migrant farmer roots, and named 2015 Women to Watch by Brava Magazine. Araceli is also the host of the podcast, Midwest Mujeres.

Karl Christenson

Karl Christenson is a producer at Wisconsin Public Radio. He enjoys taking his family on cross-country holiday road trips to theme parks and eating bologna sandwiches and parking in the last spot so he can get out of there first.
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