Morelia, Bolillos, Tortas & Tri XFriday, August 04, 2006
Rosemary, Rebbeca and I finally arrived to Morelia tonight with enough time to post my daily blog. The Houston airport was hopeless for internet access if you didn't have a laptop with wireless connection. But our hotel does have a computer.
When I saw this scene on the main square (zócalo) in Morelia so long ago I had to struggle with my Pentax S-3's thread mount lenses as I quickly went for the 28mm wide angle. I was very much into the Ansel Adams Zone System in those days which meant that I had exposures sort of memorized in my head. I remember that to take this picture I ran after the young man who was balancing a large whicker basket of bolillos on his head. I got him just before the portal ended at the street. Something has to be said of the extremely sharp 16x20 print that I have of this negative. And consider that this was Tri-X circa 1972.
I know the young man was carrying bolillos in his basket because I stopped him to have a look. Mexicans buy this "French" style bread fresh in the morning. The taste of this excellent bread depends on the saltiness of the individual bakeries. Nobody has confirmed the suspicions that many have, that this saltiness has all to do with sweat. Bakeries with their ovens are hot so bakers kneed the bread mixture without a shirt. As the sweat pours, it has been suggested that bakers will dry it off with the dough. From the same dough but in a less circular and more of a flat configuration the bolillo becomes a telera. The telera is used for making Mexican sandwiches buttered on one side and avocado spread on the other. These sandwiches are called tortas. My favourite is made from leg of pork or "torta de pierna."
There is a problem here with Spanish in that: Torta is Spanish for cake. So In Mexico a cake is a pastel. But a pastel in most other Spanish speaking countries is a pie. So Mexicans call their pies pays . They have to write it differently. Pies means feet! The Spaniards have tried to force Latin Americans to use the word emparedado for the sandwich. But we have never given in. It may have to do with our aversion to our former colonizers and admiration for English lords.