No, this is not about the baby donkeys...it's about food! La buena comida envuelta en una maravillosa tortilla de harina.

This is from my Zermeño Crossculturing Column, every Wednesday, in our local newspaper, the Hayward Daily Review, and is TBA.

The burrito in Hayward

I was munching on some nachos with friends the other day, at a new Hayward taquería (Nacho's Taquería, on 22472 Meekland Ave., 510.582.8448, run by Ignacio 'Nacho' Guerrero), and noticed Shrimp Burritos on the menu. Yes, I had one...oh, what a delight!

I took me back some years, to my grandmother's house, over in Concepción de Buenos Aires, Jalisco, México. It was there that I had my first burrito, the 'real burrito.' A misnomer, since everyone claims the 'real' burrito.

The first burrito, not the baby donkeys, mind you, but rather, the edible one, was born in México in the mid 1800's, before the Mexican American War of 1848. It was eaten in northern México (now somewhere in New México and Texas), where a miner's wife took a flour tortilla, filled with beans, for his lunch. That is reason why some folks believe that the burrito is US born, but it was México back then.

In my travels, I have eaten three types of burritos: my grandma's, my mother's -- similar to the northern Mexican burrito --, and the Latino burrito of the USA.

First, my real one, grandma's. Her name was María Guadalupe, and she loved me because I would eat anything that she'd cook in her brown earthen kitchen. Every early morning, bless her heart, she would make fresh corn tortillas. The smell would awaken me, but the getting out of bed was left for her 'Francisco, ya está el burrito!' (F, the burrito is ready!).

She would take a fresh cooked corn tortilla (flour tortillas were, and still are, hardly eaten in the smaller rural Mexican towns, and besides, in Aztec belief, man is made of corn, but that is another column for you...patience), then take some rock salt, put in the tortilla, roll it, and squeeze it, tenderly since it was very hot, into what looked like some type of a tortilla voodoo doll. Man, was that yummy! She would limit me to five, plus milk.

Later, after moving to California, on our annual Christmas vacation trek to México, typical of California Mexicans, we would stop in restaurants along the route. Well, in northern México (Sonora and Sinaloa), they sell burritos. These are different. They are made of flour tortillas. But the tortillas are not the supersized tortillas found today in the United States, in places like Nacho's. These are a little bigger than the corn tortillas, and normally only have eggs, beans or potatoes. Hhmm...a double delight!

These are the ones which mother, María Guadalupe, normally makes me. Smaller, warmer, more familiar, grabable and delicious, especially with a jalapeño...This is highly unusual, since mother never lived in the skinny burrito lands of México. I am trying to convince her to treat me like her mother, with fresh corn moldable burritos. She is too modern now, living in Hayward...bummer.

Finally, we come to the Latino burrito of the United States. That king of Mexican cuisine. That humongous meal within a meal which needs two or three days to be eaten, by normal folks, of course. Someone like me, only needs 15 minutes to polish it off. You know that supersized burrito, as thick as a log, wrapped in aluminum foil, on its plastic bed, ready and begging to be eaten. And, boy, do I comply.

So, one of these days I will lead a good cheer for Hayward...in the meantime, have a happy burrito Wednesday.

By the way, 31 Daily Review readers contacted me at machetez@sbcglobal.net or at 510.732.2746 about Taquito Hopping in Downtown Hayward. I am impressed!

Hayward on! Gracias mil.

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