Mona is Pank’s mom. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Her hair is both a noun and a verb. She jokes about fluffing her fluff. She is a very petite woman with a ton of energy, love and cheer. I love hearing her tell stories of Pank’s family. A lot of those stories are steeped in Mexican culture, due to their Houston surroundings. Pank was somewhat bilingual from a very early age. One of his elementary school teachers was frustrated that he wasn’t using his spelling words like she thought he should . Come to find out, he was writing his spelling sentences in Spanglish. He had replaced the English word “and” with the Spanish version “Y” one too many times, apparently. She tells stories of scarfing tortillas when she was pregnant with Pank’s twin sisters. When she comes for visits, she brings a large thermos full of salsa from one of Pank’s favorite Mexican restaurants. I am sure the TSA just loves searching her luggage. I am very lucky to have a loving and supportive mother-in-law. I know that not all women are as fortunate as me. She treats me as one of her own. Every so often, Pank and I will receive fun packages in the mail from Mona. Not too long ago, we received a wonderful cookbook called Savor the Southwest. This is a book based on a PBS cooking show by the same title. I had so much fun with the inspiration author Barbara Pool Fenzl provides. Mona and I always have a bit of kitchen therapy when she visits. This particular time we made Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin in Corn Husks from Savor the Southwest. The side dish was an avocado salad made with some of Mamma and Daddy’s corn. Pank’s and my nephew calls it “Nashville Corn.” He knows this corn as “Nashville Corn” because of the returning contents of that salsa thermos to Houston. Through the years, I have enjoyed blending mine and Pank’s roots through cooking. Well, come to think of it, isn’t the blending of roots what America was founded upon? Ok, I know we were just talking about pork and corn, but there is something more here. By sharing and embracing our cultural differences we are able to love one another and grow as human beings. Now I love a good biscuit, but sometimes a girl just needs to scarf a few tortillas!
To learn more about Savor the Southwest, visit http://www.azpbs.org/savorthesouthwest/