Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday Morning Barbacoa

We actually woke up early the second day in a row. Well the kids woke us up. Seth slept with me last night and the alarm went off at 7 and he was up for the day. Wonderful!

Actually it is good. I got up to make coffee and chorizo con huevo for breakfast. When I went to the refrigerator to get the eggs I realized I had forgotten them on the front seat of the truck last night. I always put them in front with me so they don't break in the back but this time that idea back fired on me. No eggs! so I told Rey I'd go get some from Matamoros Meat Market around the corner and he said he'd go get barbacoa instead.

Yes barbacoa has a lot of points but not if you just eat a couple of tacitos in moderation. That's what I love about Weightwatchers. You can eat anything in moderation so you don't feel like you're depriving yourself of anything. What you have to master is self-control and self-discipline. That's the hard part!

Barbacoa always reminds me of my uncle's bakery. He had one of the first Mexican bakeries in Houston. I need to ask my father again what year he opened the bakery. I can't remember if he said 1955 or around there. I think that what he opened first was just a small store and then it expanded into a bakery. I don't have memories of it in the early days like my sisters who are 9 to 15 years older than me.

My memories barely start in the 1970s and only last until 1981. My uncle was shot during a robbery in January of 1981, a month before my 11th birthday. But I still have wonderful memories of his store with the grey cement floors.

If I close my eyes I can vividly picture the layout of his store in those last years before he died. When you walked in there was a pay phone to the right. Then along that whole wall there were Mexican food products. He started carrying these way before there were any Fiestas. The refrigerators were directly across from you when you entered the front door. The counter was to the left. Also to the left along the wall was the glass case of sweet bread. The pink cookies with sugar in the center, the cuernitos, the golden brown marranitos, the big fat white and yellow conchas, also brown and yellow ones, and the empanadas with the rich orange sweet camote filling. Across from the sweet bread display case was a small wooden magazine rack that held Mexican magazines like Vanidades, Alarma and the Lagrimas y Risas pulp fiction filled with stories like "Raratonga."

Saturday nights they put the cow heads in the big ovens and they cooked slowly overnight so that Sunday morning they sold the rich barbacoa meat. People came in the morning and bought it by the pound to eat it for breakfast or after church. The rich dark brown meat glistening in a corn tortilla with some salt and salsa.

When my uncle died my mother helped his widow run the store for about a year but then she lost interest in it all and closed the store and moved away with her four young children. Years of my uncle's work forgotten. I wish his children knew their rich history. They were only 5, 4, 2, and about four months when he died and they were raised away from the family and away from these stories. One day I'll tell them.

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