A baby finds independence, bowls of beans and a warm tortilla

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I imagine that my very first tortilla lies somewhere beyond the reaches of my cognizant memory, so I'd have to sit you down at my parent's dinner table to discuss it over café and pan dulce, which would most likely come after a plate of chile colorado with rice, tortillas, and agua fresca – probably cantaloupe. And you would stay late into the evening because they like to tell stories that eventually end up in the desert hills of Sonora and the mangroves of a small, but hardy shrimping town south of Mazatlán. Well, I'll save you the long night and tell you what I do remember. 

I was a crawling, sometimes wobbling baby cared for by a dad who lifted all dangerous objects off the floor, baby-proofed the furniture in our sparse apartment and placed bowls of very soft beans in the four corners of the room. Then, he set me loose while he tried to take a sitting nap after an all-night shift. It was genius, actually. 

With some teeth and powerful gums, I couldn't choke. And while I ate, I was kept entertained by a sense of independence and exploration. Crawl to a bowl, crush a few beans, put some in my mouth, explore, come across the next one. As long as things were cleaned up and my diaper was changed by the time my mom came home from her job, we were golden. 

Well, what does a Mexi-mom feed her just-this-side-of-solid-food baby for dinner? More soft beans in plenty of juice from the pot! But she would do it up with a warm, earthy corn tortilla. Ah, those were the days! Learning how to tear my tortilla into little bits and push them into the bean caldo to wait for them to get soft and mushy. This is comfort food you never grow out of. In fact, go have some right now.