This weekend the incomparable Vanessa Gritton shared her family with a few lucky folks to learn the art of proper tortilla making from an absolute expert- her grandma Vilma Landaverde!
Grandma Vilma Landaverde was in Los Angeles visiting from Guatemala where she has spent a life time mastering her cooking, and taught us tips for mixing the dough, forming an even tortilla and grilling it to perfection. On hand to help, Vanessa and her mother Sidia Landaverde translated from Spanish, brother Luis snapped some photos and sister in law Carolina Lanuza carefully helped all the newbies with their baby tortillas while their daughter roamed around making friends and snacks! I was thrilled to have the chance to photograph this important occasion and I hope you all enjoy them!
Now for some words from Vanessa herself:
"Growing up I was envious of other kids that got to spend weekends at grandmas. The ones that would moan about having to spend yet another holiday at Grammas House. I longed for that.
Half of my family lives in Guatemala. I have half of my heart in another country at all times. I only get to see my grandmother every few years. I really wanted a chance to get me my mother and my niece in the same room to cook. Making food and feeding people we love is how my mom and I communicate. Break up? Have some bread and coffee and tell me what happened mija. Bad day at work? I made some sopa de rez, sit down and eat. Congrats! You had a great show! I made you some plantains and beans.
Even as an adult, to feed is to love for me. I know so many folks that wish they learned how to make a loved one’s recipe and never made time for it, the chance to share my wise, wonderful, intense grandmother with a group was an honor. I think I’m a comedian because after having four generations in the same room, we all really thrive with a crowd. I’ve never seen her smile like that."
Mixing the dough.
Sidia Landaverde prepares some tortillas to start everyone off.
Kneading the dough.
Vanessa instructs the class on the recipe, it's background, types of flour, importance of lard or oil and shares how her grandma measures. Sidia and Carolina jump in to help.
We learn about the importance of touch to determine when dough is ready.
The group gets some help and starts working on shaping.
Grandma Vilma Landaverde whips up some empanadas stuffed with ground beef, potatoes and peas as well as a sweet version with homemade pineapple jam.
Sharing some tips and tricks.
Everyone enjoys themselves while snacking on the fruit of their efforts.
Tortillas, Guatemalan cheese, fry bread, pina jam and honey from a relative's bees!
Thank you Vilma Landaverde!