Rainy days

790b8e18ee5a149d5afd5221401763e4A rainy day in Berkeley gave inspiration to the following poem about how I spent many a rainy day as a child in Argentina. It is kind of weird to translate my own poetry, but I have translated this particular poem into English because I think it’s important for readers  on here that don’t know or understand Spanish to have a taste of the “torta frita” experience 🙂 Enjoy!

Tortas fritas

Las tardes de lluvia

Mirando por la ventana las gotitas de agua

Cayendo desde el cielo

Con certidumbre y casualidad a la vez

Cada uno sabía el destino de los días de lluvia

Buscando nuestros pilotos para pilotar el camino, ya muy trillado, hacia la casa de los tíos

Que en verdad no pertenecía a nuestros tíos,

Sino a Milka, José, y la Abuela—nuestra familia postiza.

La abuela en la cocina preparando la masa

La tía Milka vestida de delantal,

Una toalla tendida de la cinta atada a su cintura,

Cebando mates [ad infinítum]

El sonido de la tele que zumbaba en el fondo a un volumen casi indistinguible contra la lluvia que caía por fuera, servía como un recordatorio del mundo, también por fuera.

–Entren, entren, chicos—nos dijo el tío Jose con un aire relajado coincidiendo con el tiempo.

Nosotros tres, entusiasmados, entrábamos y nos sentábamos en la mesa y les contábamos a los tíos y a la abuela de cómo estábamos y las nuevas del barrio.

Por mientras, mi mamá se alistaba y también se dirigía a la casa de al lado.

La abuela empezaba a calentar el aceite en una olla grande en la hornilla de atrás

La tía cortaba la masa en bolas pequeñas,

Listas para ser amasadas en círculos,

Cortadas con un cuchillo en el centro para freír parejo.

Cuando ya fritas, las tortas compuestas de harina, aceite, sal y agua son simplemente deliciosas

en sí, pero

Untándole dulce de leche quedan más ricas aún.

Mi mamá y los tíos colocaban dulce de kinotos de la última cosecha sobre las tortas.

Y todos comíamos, charlábamos, y tomábamos mates hasta casi que nos dolían las panzas.


 

Tortas Fritas*

Rainy afternoons

Looking through the window at the drops of water

Falling from the sky

With certainty and indifference at the same time

Each of us knew what these rainy days held

We searched for our raincoats and made our way down the well-trodden road to our aunt and uncles’ house

Which actually didn’t belong to our real aunt and uncle,

But to Milka, José, and Abuela—our adopted family.

Abuela was in the kitchen making the dough

Tía Milka, dressed in an apron

With a kitchen towel draped over the apron string tied at her waist,

Serving maté [ad infinitum]

The television buzzing in the background at a volume that was almost indistinguishable from the rain that fell outside, and serving as a reminder of the world, also on the outside.

“Come in, come in, kids,” tío José said with a relaxed air that mirrored the weather.

And the three of us kids entered eagerly, sitting down at the table, and telling our aunt, uncle, and abuela about how we were and the news of the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, my mom got ready and then came over to the house next door.

Tía started to heat up the oil on the burner closest the back of the stovetop

Abuela cut pieces of dough into small balls,

Ready to be rolled out into circles,

Slashed in the center with a knife so they would fry evenly.

When fried, the circles made up of flour, oil, salt, and water are simply delicious

In and of themselves, but

Spreading on dulce de leche** made them even better still.

My mom and the tíos put homemade kumquat jam from the last harvest on top of the tortas.

And all of us ate, talked, and drank maté until our bellies nearly ached.

 

*Pieces of fried dough normally in the shape of a circle.

**If you are unsure what dulce de leche is we need to have a charla/talk about what I have taught you of Argentine culture! Go get some Ben and Jerry’s dulce de leche ice cream next time you are out.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s