Tortillas and family history

I have conquered the flatbread!

Well, kind of.

Okay, a few months back Cari over at Life at #71 posted a recipe for pita from scratch.  I like pita bread, I like baking, and I like trying new things in the kitchen, so I gave it a go.  Three times.  I couldn’t make it work (although, the finished product that I came up with did make a wonderful pizza crust, with a bit of spaghetti sauce and cheese, then put put into the toaster oven until everything melted).

I decided that I was flat-bread deficient.  Then I got to thinking.  I don’t have any Mediterranean/Middle Eastern ancestors (that I know of), but my Great-Grandfather was born in Mexico. (His ancestors all came from England and Denmark, but dangit, he was Mexican!) So maybe I’d have better luck with tortillas.

I found a few recipes online, but mixing the fat in scared me a little bit.  I don’t know why, I have a pastry cutter, and don’t have any problems making shortbread or piecrust or the like, but yeah, I was a little intimidated.

While grocery shopping the other day, I found myself where the baking supplies meets the ethnic food isle, and saw this:

I know enough Spanish to know that “simplemente agrea aqua” means “just add water”  I didn’t look for the English instructions at all.  Yeah.

I made some last night, and they were easy and tasty, especially with my sister’s barbacoa pork recipe that mimics that of a popular local Mexican restaurant.

I have enough confidence now in my tortilla-making abilities that I’ll use the rest of the mix, then try them from scratch.

As for the family history–

I knew about this great-grandfather who was born in Mexico, but I wasn’t sure if he was great-grandfather or great-great grandfather, so I looked it up.  I clicked back a few generations to make sure I knew what I was talking about, and discovered a mystery.

My Mexican great-grandfather, one Johnathan Pratt Nelson, had a grandfather named Claybourne Montgomery Elder, who died and is buried in the tiny Central Utah town that my mom’s ancestors settled–the town where I lived until I was 8, and I’m related to almost every single resident of that town.

Now, here’s the mystery.  Claybourne’s wife died in Southeastern Utah in 1905.  Claybourne died in Leamington in 1912, at the age of 85.  Elder is not a Leamington name, so I don’t know why he went there, or when, though I think it’s safe to assume that it was sometime after 1905.

This is a mystery that I’d like to solve, and I guess that I have enough connections to Leamington that I could probably do it.

Honestly, this is the first family story that I’m interested in learning about.  I like to know the dates and places, and imagine what my ancestors lives were like, but haven’t really given much thought to finding out the stories.

But now, I need to know.

Tags: , , , ,

6 responses to “Tortillas and family history”

  1. Cari Miller says :

    Sorry to hear the pita didn’t work out! Can I ask what happened? I’m no expert, but maybe I can help? 🙂

    The tortillas sure sound good though!

    • corianne says :

      I probably over-kneaded. It was too tough, and didn’t puff up the way it was supposed to. The first time I thought it was my yeast, but the next two times I bloomed it first, but it didn’t help.

      • Cari Miller says :

        Ahh – that could be. I’m so spoiled with the food processor trick. Better luck next time? 🙂

  2. The Parent says :

    Yea for Leamington!

  3. Norman says :

    The answer is quite simple. After the death of his wife, Claybourne went to live with his son Parley and his family.

    I located them in the 1910 Census:|2|3249|47|2018|79055|&msrpn__ftp=Leamington,+Utah,+USA&dbOnly=_83004006|_83004006_x,_83004045|_83004045_x&_83004002=mexican&_83004003-n_xcl=f&pcat=35&fh=0&h=144523653&recoff=1+2

    Be sure to click on the “View Original Image” and you’ll find more about the family, where they were born, where their parents were born, etc.



Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Family Roots « The Storyteller Chronicles - May 25, 2010
%d bloggers like this: