by ISABEL ALTAMIRANO (Canada)
Issue 1.1 April 2019
"Vente, mi amor, help me with dinner."
I bound over to the kitchen, shooting a full-brace grin up at my abuela. She chuckled, patting me on the back, and led me to the counter. "Here is the recipe," she said, waving to an ancient book leaning on the counter. My eyes widened at the amazing pictures. I squealed in delight, "Wow, abuela, are we going to make churros?" Her eyes told me the answer, and I couldn't help but jump up in excitement. Churros were my favorite, like heaven sprinkles and whipped cream on earth.
I loved my abuela. She always made me laugh and spoiled me rotten every time she visited. Ever since my mother died, she tried to make my life as happy as ever. Sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn't, but I loved her more than anything.
She told me to get the ingredients: sugar, flour, salt, vegetable oil, water, and cinnamon. I stirred them carefully into a bowl, watching the grains of sugar and salt swirl slowly into the floor. I inhaled deeply, taking in the sweet smell. Abuela took my hand, helping me stir.
When it was all ready, she took the dough and began to shape it into long swirls of brown and white. I bounced behind her, drowning the raw churros in cinnamon. "No, mi hija", my grandmother said, laughing. I grinned up at her, drowning one more churro in cinnamon. My abuela shook her head, then winked at me. I loved her so much. Finally, we placed them carefully in the oven, then waited.
"How are you doing, mi amor?" My abuela asked me. I shrugged, "Esta bien. It's okay, I guess." She was talking about my mother, and I appreciated her trying. I faced away, determined not to let her see me cry. I had tried so hard to forget, to not break down whenever someone mentioned my mother. She didn't even say her name, but I knew. I knew it was about her. "I miss her too, Isa. Her smile . . . " She waivered, shedding some of her own tears. Just then, the oven dinged pleasantly. Abuela wiped the tears off her cheeks, I did the same. She looked at me, smiling once more, "Are you ready, mi hija?" My smile told her everything.
We carefully opened the oven, taking out the churros. They were perfect. The swirls were bursting with grains of cinnamon, and the smell wafted around the small kitchen. I gingerly took one into my hands, taking a big bite. Perfect. It was warm and cool, crunchy and soft, and the cinnamon sprinkled on top. One bite melted into my mouth, the sweet grains showering my tongue with sweet residence. I looked up at my abuela, and saw her closing her eyes in pleasure, smiling wider than ever. "You are talented, mi hija, your mother would be proud," she said to me. I smiled back, letting the warm dough drift into my heart. Even though she wasn't here, I had never felt more at peace. Everything was perfect.
Isabel Altamirano is a small 14-year-old girl with big dreams! Writing is her way of sharing her voice with the world. This piece is about her Mexican heritage and her love for churros.