Bittersweet Birthday Wishes

Today is both a happy day and a sad day. Happy because it marks the first birthday of The Other Side of The Tortilla. Sad because it also marks the fourth anniversary of the day that José’s abuelita Elda passed away.

It is thanks to many family members on my suegra‘s side who have told me stories and shared snippets of abuelita Elda’s recipes with me that I’ve come to feel like I know a little piece of her, and it’s also how I ended up starting this blog to document my journey as I explore my own Mexican kitchen.

The truth is, though she’s no longer with us, the memory of her is ever-present.

As a wedding gift, José’s great aunt, Tía Chata, made us an exact replica of a carpeta (a kind of table adornment, sometimes small enough for a serving tray and sometimes large enough to be a tablecloth) that belonged to abuelita Elda. It’s nice to have something handmade with such love and painstaking care to decorate my home with and to show our future children. It will undoubtedly someday become one of our family heirlooms that will be passed on for generations.

One of José’s favorite recipes that his abuela used to make for him while he was growing up was arroz con leche. To this day, he’s never had a bite of anyone else’s arroz con leche that’s come close to his abuelita’s. I plan to start tinkering in the kitchen to recreate her recipe sometime this fall, so wish me luck!

I can’t even cut celery in my kitchen without José reminding me that his abue used to make a sopa de apio. As my cuñada told me today, “we always knew going to abuelita’s house meant we were going to have good food.” I hope that someday my own nietos will say the same about me.

Among some of abuelita’s favorite foods, according to my cuñada: pan dulce from El Globo with café con leche, hígado (liver), albondigas (meatballs in a red sauce made with tomatoes and chiles, served over rice and beans) and sopa de fideo. I can’t promise you I’ll try making hígado, but I’ve got a mean albondigas recipe I’ll be sharing before the end of the year. I also have an affinity for El Globo’s sweet and sticky signature pan dulce, one kind of which I’ll be trying to recreate soon, too.

Tonight, we’re toasting with vino tinto and remembering her. I’ll be rifling through the stack of her recipes that I copied during my last visit to Mexico City to decide what to take on next in the Tortilla Test Kitchen.

As always, thank you for letting me share my cuentos and recetas, and I look forward to sharing many more birthdays ahead with you. I’d love to hear in the comments your favorite recipe from the first year of The Tortilla or what you’d like to see in the coming year!


  1. says

    ¡Feliz Cumpleaños The Other Side of The Tortilla! I’ll be excited to leave this message again next year. The diptych of carpeta is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, what an exquisite textile and fabulous wedding gift!

    Much love to you Maura, the blog looks great!

  2. says

    ¡Feliz Cumpleaños The Other Side of The Tortilla! I’m sure abuelita Elda is reading and enjoying her work being displayed. Love the new look — and especially ALL the great recetas!

  3. Maura Hernandez says

    Thank you to all who left birthday wishes for our 1-year blogoversary :) I look forward to another fun year of recipes and stories to share!

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