Día de Amá

I will certainly keep the flat screen on MSNBC today and get the blow-by-blow when Michael Cohen takes the stand. Let’s not forget that Cohen was Donald Trump’s trusted lawyer. He has the goods on Trump. Stay tuned!


The Chron E-Board today endorsed Charlene Ward Johnson for State Representative, District 139 in the Harris County Democratic Party Primary runoff. The E-Board endorsed third place finisher Mo Jenkins in the March 5 primary. Early voting in person for the runoff starts next Monday.


Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Yesterday morning I was pleasantly surprised to find on the front page of the Chron’s hard copy Outlook Section an op-ed by Adán Medrano who is a chef, food writer and filmmaker. He is the author of the book “Don’t Count the Tortillas: The Art of Texas Mexican Cooking.”

Here is the online headline to the op-ed:

What my mother taught me about tortillas. And life. 

Here is the hard copy headline to the op-ed:

Amá taught me about tortillas. And life. 

Here is how it starts:

It was November, and our entire front yard was draped in brilliant, beautiful white chrysanthemums. They were close to their full size, 5-inch blooms that were to become the cut flower arrangements richly adorning the church at my eldest sister’s wedding. Amá had planted them two months earlier, nurtured them with good drainage and airflow, and they were now ready: a gift from mother to daughter, from Mother Earth to family.

Amá is my mom, Dominga Mora Medrano. In Texas most Mexican American families like mine use the endearing Native American word, amá, and not the Spanish word, mamá. On this Mother’s Day I’m honored to recognize and say thank you to my amá and to all mothers on their special day. Those white chrysanthemums are one reason I am grateful.

And this:

Amá made flour tortillas that were soft, lithesome and fluffy. She would first add salt and baking powder to the flour, followed by a small dollop of shortening. She’d mix until tiny granules started to form, signaling that it was enough fat. To make the dough she poured boiling water into the flour and with her other hand started to swish around the edges, gathering and shaping the sticky mound. The heat speeds water absorption and starts a process called gelatinization that keeps the dough very soft and smooth, but strong — exactly the tortilla I love.

One time, when her pile of tortillas was growing fast, I wondered how many she’d made in such a short time.  I started counting them. Amá immediately stopped me. “Las tortillas no se cuentan,” she said: “Don’t count the tortillas.” 

It’s a dicho whose meaning I’ve come to understand over many years.  Tortillas are not a commodity. They are more than just things. Tortillas become vehicles of human interaction, so be respectful, not cavalier, when dealing with food that is prepared generously, to be shared as a gesture of hospitality. To this day, Amá’s philosophy of food and cooking is my culinary compass.

Here is the entire op-ed: What my mother taught me about tortillas. And life. (houstonchronicle.com).

Latinas and Latinos of my generation have certainly come across the endearing term amá. My Mom used to refer to her mother, err my grandmother on occasion as amá.  When we were in the company of my grandparents, we spoke both Spanish and English. When we were just with the immediate family, we spoke English though my Mom would often speak in Spanish to us and I would respond mostly in English. Got it? I mostly called my mother Mom, on occasion I would use amá.

On the flour tortilla matter, Commentary has said it before. My Mom’s flour tortillas were the best in the universe. There wasn’t even a close second.  They were a prized possession for sure when she would pack me a dozen or two to take home with me.  I sure miss her flour tortillas.

The op-ed certainly got me to think about my Mom. Thanks, Adán Medrano and Chron Outlook.

The featured photo is my family after yesterday’s Día de Amá lunch in Downtown H-Town.


We all know that one of the most memorable movie scenes in cinematic history is the opening scene from Jaws.  This is from the Daily Beast today:

The longtime actress and stuntwoman who starred in the iconic opening scene in Jaws died this weekend in California, TMZ reported. Susan Backlinie passed away of a heart attack at her home in Santa Monica on Saturday morning, her husband Harvey Swindall and agent Matthew Templeton told TMZ. Backlinie’s very first acting gig was her most famous—she booked the role of Chrissy Watkins in the shark horror flick in 1975, playing the ill-fated skinny-dipper who gets thrashed and then chomped by the titular megalodon. Backlinie teamed up with director Steven Spielberg again in 1979 for a spoof of the scene in his film 1941, where her character encounters a Japanese submarine instead of the shark.

And this:

Backlinie was 77 years old.

I liked Spielberg’s 1941 and that scene with the submarine was funny.


Kyle Tucker leads MLB with 13 dingers. Nice going, King Tuck

The team went 3-3 on the roadie and now start a 10-game homie this evening. We have four with the A’s, and three each with the Brewers and Angels.  We have to make up some ground during this homie.

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