Celebrating Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros with author Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Alicia's Fruity Drinks / Las aguas frescas de Alicia, a bilingual children's book by Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Today, I’m participating in Latinas for Latino Literature’s Día Blog Hop. Over 24 days, 24 Latina bloggers are paired with 24 authors and illustrators. This initiative, started in 2013 in the United States by poet Pat Mora, is in honor of Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros which is celebrated on April 30. All of the guest writers were asked to share an original story or illustration in support of Latino children’s literacy. The Other Side of The Tortilla is the fifth stop on the hop.

I’m thrilled to have been matched with Lupe Ruiz-Flores, the author of one of my favorite bilingual children’s books, Las Aguas Frescas de Alicia.

The story is about a little girl who attends a Mexican Independence Day festival with her parents and discovers agues frescas for the first time. She loves the fruit juices so much, she wants to make them at home with her mami, and soon is creating her own recipes to share with her soccer teammates.

It’s no secret that we’re huge agua fresca fans here at The Other Side of The Tortilla, and I believe teaching your kids about their family roots through food is a beautiful and meaningful way to instill culture and identity, as well as create lifetime memories. Books are another excellent way to teach kids about culture, and we couldn’t do that without Latino authors writing books filled with characters our children can identify with. As such, I’m proud to have my site serve as a vehicle to spread the word about the deep ties between literacy and culture and what they can do for our community.

Lupe Ruiz-Flores has shared an original essay for our readers as part of the L4LL blog hop. You can find the full schedule for all stops on the Día blog hop on the L4LL website. 

—Maura… 

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AGUA FRESCA: AGUA DE TUNA ROJA

I still remember the first time I saw tunas growing wild – José and I were visiting Mexico City one warm week at the end of the summer several years ago. One afternoon we were bored, so my suegra suggested that José take me on an official tour of Ciudad Universitaria. Also referred to as CU, it is home to the main campus of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (la UNAM or in English, the National Autonomous University of Mexico), the largest university in Latin America and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007.

This year on September 22, UNAM celebrated 100 years since its founding as the National University of Mexico as it was conceptualized by Secretary and Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts, Justo Sierra, and inaugurated in 1910 by President Porfirio Díaz. The university is also the successor to the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico, founded by Spanish Royal Decree in 1551 – technically making UNAM one of the oldest universities in the Americas.

On the campus grounds, besides the historic buildings designed by some of Mexico’s most well-known architects, murals and sculptures by famous Mexican artists, an Olympic stadium that has hosted a Summer Olympic Games (1968) and a World Cup (1986), and an impressive number of students, faculty and staff, there exists a serene, green space that is as close to the original land’s flora and fauna as it might have grown freely during the height of the Aztec empire…. 

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New features coming soon…

I’ve recently been working on a special project for The Other Side of The Tortilla that I haven’t told you about yet–some video! I’ve been working on adding in some more cultural elements (which will have a fun new category name that I can’t wait to reveal), and while composing some stories and editing photos I started thinking about how I could teach others about Mexican customs and traditions that go beyond just food. The cuisine ties into a bigger cultural picture, so really, these new cultural elements will complement the regular cooking content of what you already see here.

Christmas brunch at Tía Annette's (left), café con Rompope (right)

It started out over the holidays in December while I was visiting Mexico City (which is, in part, why you haven’t seen a December in Mexico City Part II just yet). One of our tías throws a big Christmas brunch for our whole family every year, and this year she moved it up a week so I could attend since I wasn’t in town for very long.
As with most of my trips, I brought my DSLR camera and a Flip Video along for the ride. I got some great home video style footage of how our family celebrates Christmas with posadas and began thinking how I could share this bit of our culture in a fun and educational way.

posada navideña 2009

"Dale, dale, dale, no pierdas el tino..."

And, like many Mexican families, our Christmas gathering wouldn’t be complete without a piñata

I’ve got video footage of both young and old taking their turn trying to break it open! (Here’s a little sneak peek of some of the kids’ action to the right.)

I’ve been working hard putting something together, editing, including video cuts, still photos and am now recording voice overs and adding a background soundtrack. Right now, I’m in the process of looking for a mariachi band with recorded materials that might be interested in providing some of the soundtrack (so if you know somebody, send them my way).

Recently, a few people have asked me if I’d ever do cooking video segments. That wasn’t the way I originally envisioned The Other Side of The Tortilla, but as with all ideas, it’s beginning to evolve. I’d appreciate your feedback in the poll below to let me know how you feel about the possibility of seeing some cooking videos here in the future. I’ll close the poll on Sunday, February 28th, so hurry up and vote–there’s a little over a week to get your opinions in. Feel free to also leave any comments below with your thoughts about why you would be interested in seeing some video (…or why not).

Let me know what you think. As always, thanks for reading. I hope to be able to add new features from time to time to improve your reading and cultural experience here on The Other Side of the Tortilla.

¡Adelante!

Do you want to see cooking video segments from time to time here on The Other Side of The Tortilla? Click here to let me know by voting via TwtPoll.

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