One of the great things about California is the variety of food. Not only is fresh food readily accessible, but so is authentic Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Italian, French, Japanese, Indian, (and etc.) food. I grew up making a good variety of food, so the idea of going on a comparatively limited diet was daunting. Not to be deterred, I appealed to a family friend to teach me how to make tortillas, since that was one of the few things I did not know how to do. A few days before I left, she and I made some wonderfully tasty tortillas. Now that I was settled in at my apartment, I wanted something homey and familiar.
So I decided to make tortillas.
Kiera had (prior to getting high) informed me of a few shopping tips and told me about reduced shelves where stores dump their about-to-expire foods, so I set out to Tesco to buy tortilla ingredients and chocolate. I had completely missed Tesco before, but apparently it was right by the used book store that I had visited the day previous. The store itself was midsized and unintuitive in its layout, but I was happy to discover that they sold bok choy, a favored veggie of mine, under the similar name of pok choy. I found some unfamiliar cheeses and some limes in the reduced section, then set off to get oil and flour from the baked goods. Here I discovered two things: first, oil cannot be considered a baking item, and secondly, they have different names for their types of flour. I ended up getting cream flour and finding the oil in the international foods aisle. After grabbing some chocolate and a few packets of microwaveable rice, I paid for my goodies and went home to make tortillas.
It was only after I arrived home that I remembered I did not bring anything to roll out the tortillas. Also, since the last thing that had been rolled on our counters happened to have spilled, I figured I should get something to roll it out on. I doubled back into city centre and got a small rolling pin and…a disposable cake board. I’ve used the boards before, for actual cakes and cake decorating, and they are fairly sturdy and last a good while, plus, they’re cheap. Perfect for non-laced tortillas.
I was just beginning to roll out the tortillas, back at the apartment, when Palo came home. I hadn’t actually met him yet, except for the first day when he handed me the phone. He came in, dropped his things off in his room, then came into the kitchen to introduce himself. After exchanging pleasantries, he asked what I was doing. I told him I was making tortillas.
“Tortilla? I do not know what that is,” he said. “I came here to work on my English.”
“It’s…flat, and round,” I said, illustrating with my hands. “Or at least they’re supposed to be. It’s like…pita. But thinner. Why did you come here to learn English?”
I mean, I know Irish people speak English. But…well, I wouldn’t exactly call it the best place to improve your English.
“Ah, there is a school, that I am going to. It’s nearby. It helps me with my English, and it was easier to get here. I come from Italy.”
We talked a bit more, about learning languages, getting around in a foreign county, and, of course, food. I finished making my tortillas, and he finished figuring out what he wanted to eat, and we each had our own meals watching our respective English-speaking actors perform. Because, of course, he is working on his English, and I just don’t have anything better to do while I eat.