To Grandparents: Abuela Guapa's infamous tortilla Española recipe

Joan Manuel Serrat once said in a song:

"Que decidan por ellos, que se equivoquen, que crezcan y que un día nos digan adiós"

This translates to:

"Let them decide for themselves, and make their own mistakes.  One day they will grow up and say goodbye"

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eight years ago, Enrico and I both decided to leave Puerto Rico.  We
were young and free, with an entire life ahead of us.  That was our
time.  New city, new life, new jobs; everything felt fantastic.  Once a
year we went back home to visit our folks and that was good enough for
us.  We were always eager to come back to our new life in Chicago.  It
was great.

And then the kids became parents, and our entire
world turned upside down.  No help.  No grandparents.  No downtime. 
Our visits to the island became more frequent.  Our phone calls to our parents went from twice a week to twice a day.  We missed
having them around terribly. 

Just this morning Lucia was
pretending to be in a train.  She said "Mami, I am going to Porto Lico"
(without rolling her "R's"). It suddenly hit me; my kids are growing up
without their grandparents; a reality that most people go through these
days.  In this economy, we all have to go where the jobs are; we all
want the best for our kids and for our families.  Both Lucia and
Joaquin are confronting a completely different reality than the one we
grew up in; being raised in a different place, a different culture, and
definitely, in a different weather.  They are growing up in a place
where their support group and immediate family becomes their parents'

What are we doing for Thanksgiving?  We go to Marie
& Rafa's.  What are we doing for Christmas?  We go to Lisa &
Adam's.  What are we doing on Sunday afternoon?  We go to Diana &
Eduardo's.  Where are we going to watch the Bears play?  We go to Khadine & Bill's.  There is an upside to it all though; we don't have to go if
we don't want to.  There are no obligations.  We are our own little
family.  Oh, and there is definitely less drama!

back at my own childhood experience, I have to say that growing up with
our grandparents was irreplaceable.  Both of my grandmothers were
amazing, intelligent women.  From Abita, I learned how to be
compassionate and kind to animals.  There was always a place in her
house for yet another stray dog.  She fed everyone and every living
thing; from hens, to the frogs in her country house.  She was

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But I have to say that my passion for cooking comes from
hours in the kitchen watching my Sevillian grandmother, Abuela Guapa, cook.
Cakes, paellas, lasagnas; she was amazing at everything she touched,
plus also a fantastic entertainer.  Growing up with these experiences
was the absolute best.  And although my kids won't be able to grow up
watching Abuela cook, they will have their own irreplaceable memories
with their grandparents as well.


Abuela Guapa

So, in honor to both of these strong and amazing women; and to all grandparents out there,
I am sharing with you Abuela Guapa's infamous tortilla Española recipe.  Olé!


Ingredients for the tortilla Española:

-10 eggs
-8 medium sized red potatoes
-Olive oil (enough to fry the potatoes)
-1 medium Spanish onion
-salt to taste

Click on the pictures for step by step instructions.

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  • True, there is nothing like Grandma's food, but when you're growing up with a chef for a mother you're not missing out on much either! :-) And to your readers...I definitely recommend this tortilla. I've tried it and it's FANTASTIC!!!

  • In reply to KhadineKubal:

    Thanks Khadine! You know that this one is an EVERYONE favorite! Forget about Cafe Iberico! LOL

  • This is by far my favorite blog entry so far! It is so true that, while living in Puerto Rico, near family, near friends that have been so for 20 something years, we take for granted the closeness and the support we need so much when raising a family. I remember my Mother taking me to my grandma's every day after school. She was my "Daycare". She taught me how to sit properly, how to play cards and how to love family no matter what. If I was mad at my Mom, she would tell me "She will always be your Mom, and you need to show respect, no matter how you feel right now." My great-grandmother was still alive and I remember her telling my brother and I "stop saying you hate each other" probably mortified while we were running around the house chasing each other with some kind of "weapon". One of those sibling's quarrels over a toy. She would be proud to see us now, all grown up, calling each other to tell the other how much we miss each other. I remember, that when I had Javier (my first child), I despised the idea of having 20 family members in and out of my hospital room, and having them come to my home to see the baby. All I wanted was silence and sleep! But, now, looking great it would be to call Popia and Abu and tell them, could you stay with the boys this week-end, Quique and I need to breath! This is a luxury that we now have only twice a year at the most. SOOO, without babbling anymore...I have to say, Nina, you brought back wonderful memories of my family that I have kept in my mind's treasure's nice to open it once in a while! Now I'll go to my kitchen, make the tortilla and my grandma's "pastelillitos de queso"!!

  • In reply to fruiz73:

    Frances, thank you so much for reading my entries every Wednesday and for being such a WONDERFUL friend! Y a ver si preparas esos pastelillitos y me invitas! Un abrazo!

  • I have a binary perception of your story because I grew up in Chicago having my maternal grandmother living here (originally from Puerto Rico) and my paternal grandmother in Mexico...

    Needless to say I was a lot closer to my maternal grandmother and formed a very strong bond with her. (Unfortunatly I only saw my paternal grandmother during visits and holidays.)

    My grandmother influenced my life immensely and taught me invaluable lessons, although she passed away last year the love and wisdom that she instilled in me will never die, keeping her eternal in my heart...Thank you for sharing your memories of your grandmothers with us!

    Tortilla Espa

  • In reply to vavila3:

    Ay Vanessa! Thank you so much for reading my entries, and although we don't know each other, I feel that we connect through the blog :) Please, let me know how the tortilla goes tonight as I can assure you that your family WILL LOVE IT!

  • Nina, this is definitely the best blog I have read. I concur with my tocaya, Frances. Thank you for sharing your special memories. They are definitely important and leave deep traces in our lifelong map. I still feel the smells, sounds and brise of my grandmothers' house in Arecibo next to the ocean. I use to love waking up with the church's carrill

  • In reply to francesfernandez:

    Thank you for your words, Frances - They mean a lot to me; I am very happy that through this entry some many people were touched...Grandparents are just amazing, and I will forever treasure all of our moments together. Thanks for reading!

  • In reply to francesfernandez:

    Nina - great entry! When I was a kid, we would go to my grandma's house every Sunday night for dinner and I loved it. Now, I live about an hour away from my parents and it seems we only see each other for the holidays. Your entry this week has given me the "kick in the pants" I need to get my boys over to see their grandparents! Thank you!

  • In reply to LisaWitek:

    Thanks Lisa! As I said, growing up with them was the absolute best, so take your kids to see your folks! :)

  • In reply to LisaWitek:

    Hi, Nina! (Hope you're all well in IN-miss seeing your family.) This entry was interesting & powerful- you expressed vividly your experience- & how it's changed over time, especially after having kids. It made me think about what it's like for you (& Khadine, & many others)- since we live near most ALL of our extended family-lots of support, time together, etc. I know we're very lucky- a good reminder. :)

  • In reply to kathikubal:

    Thanks Kathi! I feel that I am in between the two cities all the time! Still have our condo in the city :) Thanks for reading and for your support! It is VERY difficult to be alone, without family, but it is where the jobs are! I hope all is well and hopefully, we'll see you guys soon!

  • In reply to kathikubal:

    Nina, I must say Thank you! I made my 1st tortilla this sunday and thanks to your Abuela Guapa's recipe and your directions Ay MAMA! it was a success! I very much enjoy reading what Khadine and you write each week. Hope you are all doing well, say hi to Enrico from me. Carina

  • In reply to camoll:

    Thanks for reading Carina! I am so glad that the tortilla was a huge success - It is definitely a family favorite! Thanks for your support. Take care!

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