The Gluten-free Chicano Eats Bread
It was my inattention and poor stocking by Whole Foods Market in east Pasadena that got me. I bought a bag of sugar cookies and failed to notice the gluten-free products shelf had stopped, and I’d taken a bag of wheat-based cookies whose packaging appeared identical to the good stuff.
Once home, I tore open the package and devoured two cookies. 59 minutes later, I was sick as a dog with fleas. I stumbled to bed and passed out. Three days later, I’d fully recovered.
Sabes que? The Gluten-free Chicano has no fear of stuff that scares others: critters, big angry people, the cucui--some of my best friends are cucui, sabes? But wheat, wheat makes my knees shake, wheat scares me to death, as do barley and rye.
Gluten-free analogs of bread are really awful. Some beers are great, but bread, no. Typically made with heavy proportions of rice and bean flours, GF breads' texture is dry, grainy and unpleasant, like sawdust. The xanthan gum manufacturers add also lends a disagreeable taste that shouts out loud, “Analog! Will Robinson, Analog!” Sometimes it sucks to be me, especially in restaurants where people slather sweet butter on warm sourdough loaves or artisan crackers, bring the morsels to their lips, and chew in exquisite delectation.
Then last week, my friend Mario Trillo returned from a COSTCO in Sparks NV where he found Essential Baking Super Seeded Multi-Grain Gluten-free bread. This is fabulous, but, regrettably unavailable in Southern California. Nonetheless, the Gluten-free Chicano unqualifiedly endorses Essential Baking Super Seeded Multi-Grain Gluten-free bread.
In the past, I’ve spent money on always-expensive bread analogs, only to eat one slice then give the remainder to La Chickenada, who aren’t particular, though even they curl their lips at the stuff.
How does Essential Baking do it? Filtered water, mixed seeds (sunflower & flax seeds), rice flour (white, brown & sweet rice), egg white, hi oleic safflower oil, tapioca flour, sugar cane fiber, granulated sugar, yeast, pear juice concentrate, plum puree (prune juice concentrate, dried plums), modified cellulose, salt, potato flour, baking powder (glucono delta lactone & calcium carboate), cellulose gum, orange citrus fiber.
|Gluten-free eggs on toast|
This week, thanks to Mario’s thoughtfulness, I’ve eaten toast for breakfast, toast for lunch, and old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwiches. Each meal was a great big thanksgiving day dinner that couldn’t be beat, if you know what I mean.
If you’re in Reno NV or points north, and afflicted with Celiac disease or some variant of gluten intolerance, do yourself a flavor favor and buy a package of Essential Baking Super Seeded Multi-Grain Gluten-free bread. Take a few slices to restaurants, make sure you’re the first to the butter before the wheat-eaters contaminate it, and munch away, just like them.
The Gluten-free Chicano promises to follow Essential Baking company’s website and Facebook page to be first with the news when distribution reaches western Aztlán.
Mira que ya amaneció
The couple fell madly in love and then more deeply so. He found a shanty in a chicano neighborhood whose slanty roof was sound enough so long as there was no weather. The previous welfare tenants hadn’t left it too smelly, so he cleaned it up, painted the walls, laid some carpet, and they moved in together to start the summer. It was June 1968.
In the evenings she would read while he did push-ups, sets of 25, then 30, then 50. “Why are you doing push-ups?” she asked. “I want to be in shape when I get drafted,” he replied. “You’re not going to get drafted!” she insisted, anger restrained by fear. Every evening, television news showed the relentless arrivals of flag-draped coffins from Vietnam, in sets of 25, then 30, then 50, then hundreds, and thousands.
August 31, 1968 arrived. It was his 23d birthday, and the date they’d selected for the Nuptial Mass. “Marriage is like a barbeque,” the Monsignor pronounced on the hottest day of the year as they kneeled sweating through the ceremony. The Msgr. enjoyed his metaphor and elaborated. The coals grew hot, the coals cooled, the coals reignited, they glowed cherry-red. And they knelt in miserable synaesthesia.
|View from the mailbox. "I'll drive," she said.|
Bumper stickers are UCSB staff parking, "Bring them home alive," and "McCarthy for President."
One fine day in October they were headed to Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens. It was their kind of place—free--and they’d packed a picnic.
She said she’d drive. He said he’d get the mail.
|"Get the mail when we get back."|
“Don’t,” she said, “we’ll get it when we get back.”
He opened the mailbox, as he did every day, looking for it. It was there, the manila envelope.
|I checked the mail and the envelope had arrived.|
“Greeting: From the President of the United States...” and he thought of that song, “and then my Uncle Sam, he said ‘a knock-knock, here I am.” Ordered to report for induction Thanksgiving week, he, along with his mother and his employers petitioned the draft board to let him be. The draft board relented and gave him until January 15, 1969 to report.
Memories of that time hit me hard every year at this time. Forty-three years ago today, I’d been discharged after 19 months and three days in uniform. Barbara met me in Washington state, from where we took a bus toward Southern California on a second honeymoon. It was like a really good blind date.
We arrived in Temple City on August 28, 1970. I did not know where “East Los Angeles” was, but I sorely wanted to go to that “Chicano Moratorium” antiwar march the next day. I went into the Army because I thought being a Veteran would legitimize my protest.
Geographical ignorance saved my life. Had a cop attacked me at Laguna Park, I would have attacked right back. I had not yet shed my military bellicosity. Still haven’t.
Next week’s August 31 marks our 45th anniversary, give or take nineteen months and three days, and my 68th year. Happy anniversary to my first wife, felicidades and apio verde to me.
Levántate de mañana mira que ya amaneció.
The Four of Us Rode the Streets of Aztlán
It was the evening before I was to report for the bus taking me to the Induction Center. Our friends Bryan and Mike climbed in the back seat of the Valiant, Barbara shotgun. We cruised slowly through campus, the bustling streets of Isla Vista, then headed back for one last, slow cruise of Santa Barbara's darkened streets.
Near midnight, it was clear tomorrow would, indeed, arrive. The light turned green but we were laughing at something and had not noticed. The next right turn would put us on State Street, then a left on Haley St, and a left on Milpas, a right and we’d be back at the Ortega Street shanty. Then we’d have to say goodbye, perhaps forever. It was that ominous and dreary.
A raggedy beat-up pickup truck behind us honked its horn. In the rearview mirror I saw the turned-up brim of the driver’s cowboy-hatted silhouette. Cowboy backed up, honked again, and slammed his pickup truck into my rear bumper, hard.
As he screeched around us, he bravely yelled out, “Fuck you, Four F!” The pendejo made the turn and disappeared down State Street. People unfit for military service were designated “4-F.” What an ugly irony, que no? Tomorrow I would be a soldier, and cowboy would still be driving the streets, hating long-hairs like me, assuming we were unpatriotic 4-Fs.
I didn’t want to cry, so I laughed instead.
I have three friends whose Vietnam experience put them in body casts for a year or more out of their lives. Other men I knew didn’t come home.
When I think of what it means to be drafted out of grad school as a newlywed, Franz’, Ray’s, and Mario’s experiences put mine into perspective. Shoulda woulda coulda, but it wasn’t. And so it goes.
UCSB Has A Job for You
The phone call came the same day I'd signed and mailed off the contract committing me to a one-year jale at Cal State LA. It was Rollin Quimby, my MA adviser. "We have a one-year appointment for you," Dr. Quimby delightedly informed me. So it goes.
Click here to go to the C/S Depto's website for details on the jale.
Cultural Tourismo: la Habana
Tom Miller Has A Tour For You
Will January 2014 see you strolling el Malecón, drinking mentiritas, meeting Cuban writers, and reciting Martí poems in colorful sodas? It will, if you have the lana and ganas to join La Bloga friend Tom Miller on one of the top travel bargains in las Américas and the Caribe.
For more information contact Tom Miller at 520-325-3344 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cuba Tours and Travel at 888 225-6439 ext 802. You may wish to visit http://tourinfosys.com/signup/lit_hav where you can sign up for the viaje.
UCLA Hosts Writing Conference
La Bloga friend, Liz Gonzalez, will present a capstone workshop at this weekend's Writers' Faire. The all-day event ranges from screenwriting to one-on-one conferences with coaches and the connected. Liz' contribution wraps up the day for gente just getting their fingers wet in the writing industry. At 220 to 300 p.m. Liz and colleagues delve into beginning steps.
Getting Started as a Writer
How do you find inspiration, learn the writers’ discipline, and acquire techniques for transforming your ideas and fragments of stories into artistic, compelling pieces of writing? Start here. liz gonzález (chair), Aaron Shulman, Nancy Spiller
Here is the complete program in PDF. General info is here. Other than parking and lunch, the event is free.
August’s Penultimate On-line Floricanto
Ralph Haskins Elizondo, Juanita Lamb, Lois Chavez Valencia, Bulfrano Mendoza, Andrea Mauk
"El molcajete de mi abuela" by Ralph Haskins Elizondo
"Window shopping dreams" by Juanita Lamb
"Deported" by Lois Chavez Valencia
“Ya Basta" by Bulfrano Mendoza
"The world and its people" by Andrea Mauk
El Molcajete De Mi Abuela
Ralph Haskins Elizondo
After serving faithfully for five generations, I retired my grandmother's/mother's molcajete. I dedicate these words to it, and to all who came before me.
What once was a proud, sculptured Mexican mortar,
strong, and chiseled to last a thousand years,
is now a small humbled grey-pit shadow
holding a tiny pebble of a pestle on its concaved lap.
Eons of ornery stone, born to grind
into submission decades of unrepentant
peppers in my grandmother’s long kitchen,
she milled her seasons of salsas there,
since beyond the revolution; every chile-tomato taste,
an explosion of Villa’s armies taking the field.
My grandfather’s cavalry, charges again
to quell the uprising taking place
on the battlefield of my tongue.
The pits and pores hang on to all
the memories of flavors ever pressed.
I can still taste my childhood, and my mother’s childhood,
both intertwined in cilantro,
but like my grandmother, time grinding away
at her skin, her organs, even stone wears out.
You rest now, old friend. You rest.
His family moved to South Texas during the social turmoil of the 60’s.
Many of his poems touch the cultural and political issues of our times.
Today, Ralph lives in McAllen, Texas where he supplements his poet’s income by moonlighting as a science teacher at a local high school.
Window Shopping Dreams
(Reading of Oprah's handbag racism reminds me of a family story.)
My grandmother—Mama Sarita—
would take my sister for walks downtown,
"window shopping.” A little girl could entertain
fantasies of wearing beautiful clothes on display
while she played with her blue-eyed
golden haired doll.
Passing the "Anglo" bakery,
Mama Sarita and my sister talked
about the fancy wedding cake displayed
and dreamed aloud of hundreds
of wedding guests in attendance
at my sister's fairy tale wedding.
And so it went, grandmother and child
passing a fanciful hour or two
spinning dreams and wishing wishes.
One day they were at the windows
of a very expensive department store
gazing at the beautiful high heels adorned
with jeweled buckles, satin bows
and criss-crossed straps as thin as angel hair.
But their daydream was shattered
when a store clerk came to the door
of the shop and called out to them
"no zapatos for you Madama. Vamos".
And shooed them away
with sweeping hand gestures.
How do you explain to a child
that some people think even dreams
are not for them? How do you explain
She writes from the heart, which is puro Mexicano.
Her fiction and essays have appeared in Zopilote, Latina Magazine, Border Senses, Azahares, Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland, and Primera Página: Poetry from the Latino Heartland (2nd Edition) and La Bloga.
Lois Chavez Valencia
I need to see my mother.
Working,crying I want to rest
but my thoughts turn to nightmares,
and my pain makes me suffer.
They sent you away from me.
I can’t see your face,
I can’t see your beautiful smile,
nor feel your hugs that
made me feel safe and loved.
I'm alone in this land
without support or family,
dreaming of days
when you were with me.
Day by day, year by year,
you gave me all you could
with all the love
only a mother can give.
I need to see my mother,
deported so far away from me.
Lois Chavez Valencia- I was born in Albuquerque New Mexico in February of 1955. Before starting school I had learned both the English and the Spanish Languages. My family history is rich and full of stories. My father and mother told us so many true stories. My dad wove wonderful tales of his childhood and from those days forward I was hooked on writing. But on the very first day of school my world was forever changed. I was told NOT to speak Spanish because it was a dirty language. I did it anyway in secret, but soon forgot alot of my language. When I was 6 years old we moved to Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. When I moved to Los Angeles it were as though a whole new colorful vision had opened up to me. The murals, the smells, the music and the people all had a hand in forming how I think and write today. The stories of my life and the diversity of the city have all had a hand in the formation of my art, verbal, written and depicted as drawings or sketches. These memories have made me stand up and fight injustice. And now that I am older, and hopefully alot wiser, I do this through written word. My sisters both write poetry and other articles of interest. I guess you can say we are a family of stories to write.
In memory of David Silva, 33 year old husband, and father of four murdered on May 8, 2013, by 9 racist Bakersfield, California Sheriffs Deputies, Sworn to Serve and Protect...
in the newspaper said, is that his
blood stains are still on the corner
of Flower Street and Palm Drive.
Another Mexicano, father of four,
beaten to death by nine white
gestapo California Sheriffs deputies,
who claim he was resisting arrest.
He begged, " Please spare my life! "
Instead, he was murdered in front
of his children and his wife!
And those witnesses who filmed
his murder on their phones,
were threatened by these sheriffs,
then they confiscated their phones.
The gestapo tactics perpetrated
by these racist deputies on our
raza must come to an end.
Time for a new revolution for
our freedom to begin!
These white chotas must leave
all of our brown gente alone,
so we can feel safe on our
streets as well as in our homes!
comes from a special place. I want my audience to feel, I want to mesmerize, to catch the world through my eyes. A poem is only as powerful as the voice behind it.
In this world
There are people who wake up
Smile at the sun
Stretch to exchange energy (a scary thought)
Kiss their children's cheeks
Their wives' hungry lips
Pick up their briefcases
Drive to the office
And oversee the slaughter
of innocentes in far off lands.
These kind of people never blink.
They don't feel the need to wash their hands.
There are people who wake up
with rumbling pangs in the pits of their stomachs
Smell the rot that squelches their hunger
Bathe in rivers streaked blood red
(Blue Bloods never bleed)
Raise their arms
Their need for change
And march in step.
Sometimes their bullets pierce the skulls
of their brothers.
Their tears flow through lands and songs.
They have not forgotten how to smile.
These people must always wash their hands
But soap is no match for centuries
Of collective memory.
There are people who wake up
Turn off the coffee maker, pour a cup
Sit down to listen
To the morning news
Grab their keys
Hit the freeway
Wait in traffic
Cuss a little
Get to the job
Help someone somewhere
To turn a profit
And everything is okay
Because their heart flutters
Red, White and Blue
And they do everything they've
Been raised to do.
Their songs are anthems, rock and roll
And they proudly wash their hands
Throw the paper napkin near the can.
Then there are people
Who suddenly wake up
Only to realize
That everything they've ever been told
is an orchestrated fantasy
And anything they think to do
Seems immensely small
So they cry inside
And they go on with a chip on their shoulder
'Cause they know it's all a lie.
These people raise their hands to the sky.
Andrea also teaches 5th grade in downtown Los Angeles. She is a dedicated and creative educator who incorporates the arts and project-based learning into the curriculum. She has completed extensive training in teaching gifted and talented students. She recently enjoyed choreographing 100 5th grade students in a performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”