A few years ago I went to a BBQ cookout at a friend's house in Texas. She, along with most of her family, was born in Mexico and is now living in the states. Mexicans sure know how to season the carne (meat) and asar (grill) it to perfection. Along with the frijoles (beans) and arroz (rice) there was salsa (salsa) and pico de gallo (chopped up tomatos, onions, jalapenos, cilantro with lemon juice). Everything in parentheses are translations for my gringo and guero (Yankee and white) friends.
So I loaded up my plate and sat down to eat except I couldn't find a fork or knife. I asked my friend about utensils and she informed the me, the nitwit northern foreigner, that's what tortillas are for. Huh? Observe this, she says to me as she folds a tortilla in half and then rips into two pieces at first and then rips the half piece into two more pieces. Then with the same skill level as Asians eating pieces of rice with chopsticks, she used one piece of tortilla to scoop bits of meat, frijole, rice and salsa into another piece of tortilla to eat sans utensils. This ritual goes on until the plate is wiped clean. It looked easy enough so I gave it try. The tortilla tearing went OK but the scooping part didn't go so well. I ended up with a smear of beans and the meat fell out before it hit my mouth. Fast forwarding to present day I am proud to say that I can now use tortillas like utensils. Maybe not as good as my friend, but most of it gets in my mouth instead of my lap.
Now, if I can just get the hang of chopsticks.
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