Every morning I wake up to a loud noise clattering in the creepy crawler infested walls of my apartment. I never bother to figure out what causes this rude awakening. Instead I call for my spirit to return back to my body from its journey to the real world. I make my way to my cocina where a non-functioning stove sits, taking up space. I open the ice box, pull out half way frozen nopales, the ice covered cilantro and tepache (one that i make)- barely enough left to blend this combination of ancestral life into a natural insulin. I can sense the weight of someone's eyes on me. I turn around and in her green leather rocking chair is my abuelita Luz "Yeya." She's smiling at me. She came to visit me from Mictlan; the place that harbors our ancestors from the slow deaths of diabetes and other colonial dis-eases.
She once came to visit my family for a feast on la noche buena. I was a young aspiring chef at the time. Proud to prepare the feast all on my own. I served the first course to the children and elders first. For this is our tradition. A warm spinach salad with dried cranberries and toasted almonds. Yeya looked down at the porcelain plate covered by stacked leaves and with intense humor asked, "what, do you think I'm a cow?". The dining table began to roar with laughter. My ears began to burn with humiliation. It was my first lesson in remembering culturally nutritious recipes. Te hecho mucho de menos Yeya.