But before you go, here's my own entry, taken from "La Luna," the serial short fiction that ran in Woman's Weekly in the UK from August 10-August 31. The story is about Serina, the chef/owner of a restaurant on San Antonio's Riverwalk.
Soon she was weeping over piles of chopped onions, though she smiled broadly and hummed “Celito Lindo” in absence of the mariachis. The pork simmered in its red chile sauce, raising a fragrant haze in the kitchen. She lost herself in the preparation, soaking the dried corn husks, roasting peppers, grating the potato-like jicama for the slaw.What can I say? I love the food of San Antonio!
When the meat was ready, she began making the tamales. She spread the fluffy corn masa on the softened husk, topping it with a large dollop of shredded pork, and rolling it together so the meat was enclosed like a prize within the package. She tied it shut with a strip of corn husk and started on the next. Though pyramids of tamales grew before her, it would take her another hour to finish them all. With the back of her hand, she brushed away a loose strand of hair and stretched her back, remembering the tamaladas at Christmas time, the traditional tamale-making party where her mother and aunts and grandmother would roll up their sleeves and make hundreds of tamales for the holidays. She smiled to think of the contests to see who could make the most, the laughter when someone was caught out for skimping on the filling or splitting a husk. In face of those memories, Serina’s kitchen seemed very empty, the only sound the rain pinging on the metal vent above the stove. She shoved the pang of loneliness away and continued her tasks, stopping only briefly to flick on the radio to drown out the silence.
The group arrived early, shaking the rain of jackets and umbrellas. Serina noted immediately the absence of any women in the party and chided herself for feeling relieved; she’d secretly feared Eric would bring a date. Once the guests were settled with their drinks, however, she almost wished for the presence of another woman to dilute their attentions. The men – some very young, some older, all charming – were quick to wink, touch her arm, even pat her hip as she walked by. To occupy their hands and thoughts, she quickly brought out the first course of squash soup with roasted corn and poblanos, crowned with a complicated nest of tortilla strips.
The wine began to flow and with each course – chile-fried Gulf oysters, mesquite-grilled prawns on jicama-mango slaw – the men grew louder and more effusive in their complements. At Eric’s pressing, she bent her own rule and joined them in a glass of Argentine Zinfandel, as red and rich as liquid rubies. When the tamales were unwrapped like gifts at Christmas, the men broke into applause and Serina finally fled to the kitchen, her face aflame and heart afire from pleasure of a meal so well appreciated.
So now go check out Angela at Jaded Love Junkie and all the other entries. I'm going to do the same, but first I need some breakfast. All this food talk has made my stomach rumble.