A Story Too Good Not To Tell Acapulco Part 7

17 Mar

Our beach vacation to Acapulco in 1973 was a step into a very different world from today. Heck, it was a different world from the rest of Mexico in 1973. The family we stumbled upon was operating a kitchen to feed a group of men who slept by day and fished by night. Maria, the chief cook was unfazed by a few more mouths to feed, hospitality at its best.

Our days began with breakfast which included fish in all its variations. The men were fishing in small boats by gas lantern and our meal had been caught the night before.

The child to the left retrieved water from God knows where with buckets balanced on poles across her shoulders.

The tortillas that were part of every meal were hand formed and cooked on a flat iron griddle called a comal. The comal was balanced on bricks over a hot wood fire. Maria delivered the tortillas to the table and we could barely retrieve them from the traditional woven basket in the center. Her hands were smooth leather and the piping hot corn disks tasted like no tortillas I had ever eaten then or since.

Staying in such a remote location we had to question where everything we consumed came from. There was no quick trip down the street to a little tortillaría or person who showed up on a scooter to deliver a kilo or two. Today, every restaurant in Bacalar has a delivery scooter on speed dial.

Tortillas are still a staple of Mexican diet.

One day a man showed up in camp leading a donkey with two burlap bags of corn cobs slung over its back. Maria and grandma shucked the corn and put the kernels to soak in a tub of water with lime powder. The process is called nixtamalization and causes the kernels to break down. Most tortillas in Mexico today are made from highly processed corn flour and taste like cardboard. The softened corn is then fed into a hand grinder and made into masa and the best tortillas in the world.

Non-GMO corn is quite tough.
The stock photo setup that is far more sophisticated than Maria had.

Few Mexicans today have ever tasted real tortillas. You can buy masa to press and grill your own, but the dough is made from highly processed corn flour.

A simple tortilla press can be found in most homes. Today you can buy ones that press and cook the tortillas right at the table, similar to a waffle iron.

The family we stayed with worked hard. But after the stunning Pacific sunset, a gas lantern provided the only light, and intense games of dominos ensued. One of my companions brought his guitar which was a big hit. Thinking back, all I can say is, “what an experience “.



7 Responses to “A Story Too Good Not To Tell Acapulco Part 7”

  1. Marcia S March 19, 2023 at 10:49 am #

    Alex, these stories from your early days in Mexico have been enjoyable to read. What an experience to have stayed with the family you describe! I traveled to central Mexico twice in the same general time period you were there. Once in a VW van (without a back seat) and once in a VW bug. These were a week to 10-day driving trips, however, not the same as living there. We still had some encounters that I have never forgotten. Thanks. Marcia

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 March 19, 2023 at 10:57 am #

      Love that you are following my story. I have had it in my head for many years. Telling it brings back things I had forgotten. Just wait until I get to the cold rum and coke!


  2. LJones March 19, 2023 at 11:34 am #

    Oh my – how wonderful!!! I have loved your stories…and would give anything to taste one of those tortillas! Family here – free in a few days xoxo to all of you

    Lorrie Jones Simple Serenity simpleserenity.comhttp://simpleserenity.com/ 253.312.3117

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 March 19, 2023 at 11:37 am #

      I have tasted others but my memory beats all.


  3. jamurray2014 March 20, 2023 at 5:24 am #

    Loved this story all the weeks you have been telling it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 March 20, 2023 at 7:12 am #

      Thank you. Glad to know you enjoy it. The time I spent in Mexico was one continuing adventure. There’s more to come.


  4. Jack Scott March 20, 2023 at 6:13 am #

    What an experience, indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

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