My fondest memory about my Great Mama is centered around food. The earliest memories I have of my mom’s grandma, who we called Great Mama, were from our family reunions in Sacramento, California were my mom’s extended family lives.
The first time I remember traveling to California for the family reunion is a little fuzzy since I was still a kid, maybe 7 or 8? But I can remember the first time I met my Great Mama. I remember thinking “my grandpa looks just like her” and that she had the most beautiful rose bushes in her yard. Then I tried her homemade, from scratch tortillas. HOLY GUACAMOLE! These tortillas are still a taste memory for me today (I can taste them as I type this). So naturally I was super excited to feature her and learn one of her favorite recipes.
Mary Flores was born in in Texas. She was married to my great grandfather, a pastor named Reverend Ben Flores; they were married for many years and had 8 children together.
When she was young she lived on a farm and her job was to make desserts like cakes or pies. Her brother would help her after school so that she could go out and play baseball with him. She was an avid baker as well as a cook; she loved baking desserts, empanadas, and even liked canning her own preserves and salsas.
Even more than just cooking, she thoroughly enjoyed teaching others how to cook. She taught my sister and me how to make her tortillas when we visited and she taught all her children and grandchildren too. Below is a picture of one of my mom’s cousins with Great Mama; she came to her kindergarten class to demonstrate how to make tortillas.
As if my Great Mama wasn’t awesome enough, she was also an entrepreneur. She ran her own empanada business and would sell them for their local mission. She was very involved in my great grandpa’s church and would always host luncheons for her “Church Sisters”. In addition, not only was she great in the kitchen but she also loved sewing- often times making her clothes for herself and the family, quilts, needle point wedding gowns and endless bridesmaid dresses.
My Great Mama was such a remarkable woman who loved her family, was extremely hard-working, and a fabulous chef and baker. She was a Godly, funny, silly, kind, determined, sports loving woman and a huge inspiration to my life. I love and miss her so much.
For this recipe you will need:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup warm water
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder. Sift together, stir in vegetable oil. Stir together until it resembles coarse crumbs. Then add warm water to the flour mixture.
Stir until combine. Then use a cookie dough scooper and scoop dough into balls until dough is completely gone. Set the balls of dough on a floured surface.
Next you will cover the balls of dough with a slightly damp kitchen towel and let them rest 20-30 minutes. (You can wait up to an hour if preferred.)
Once the dough has rested, flatten the dough balls into round flat ball and roll out with a rolling pin.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, until pan is hot. Then reduce heat to medium. Set one tortilla in the pan, and cook until it starts to bubble on the side that is up, that tells you it is ready to flip. Flip the tortilla and cook on the other side for 30-45 seconds, or until a light golden brown. This can take longer if your pan is cooling.
Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Add all the taco fixin’s you like, and enjoy!
Let’s dig in!