• Krystal

Pearls of rice with tomato sauce – Recipe of a flower's tears

Updated: Feb 5

Auntie Gloria (my Mom's sister) shared this gem with me while we spent a lovely time in my grandma’s kitchen talking about the breathtaking life that mama Came had. Camerina was a woman of wild character, with an adventurer heart and head full of extraordinary ideas. I will provide the recipe in my second post.



Maria Trinidad Camerina Castro Barrera flourished in Puruándiro Michoacan on October 25, 1925. The season of one of her favorite flowers, Dalia. She lived her life just like the flowers, wild, with many difficulties to overcome, rainy days that strengthed her character and sunny days that warmed her heart.

Her life was not a fairy tale. Camerina married in a black dress with Heriberto (due to a family mourning) in 1947 at the age of 21. Their love gave her 9 children Gloria, Graciela, Heriberto, Cristina (my mother), Jose, Malena, Angeles, Patricia, and Juan. This almond's eye Mexican woman (like mine) fought all her life to bring food to his table and make his home look like the most beautiful hacienda in the region. She loved having birds on the patio, which welcomed you to the most beautiful garden. Still existing nowadays.



She became a mature and independent woman very quickly, a remarkable thing taking into consideration the men driven society of her days. The necessities in her life made her try many ways to sustain her family, the hard work that my Granpa Heriberto was making in his farm wasn't enough for the 9 little ones.


She started traveling to the United States (as many immigrants from her religion) to take a piece of the American dream. In these trips, she learned an avant-garde way to make home decorations with flowers. Camerina's floral arrangements quickly gained fame among the ladies of society, who couldn't wait to these bouquets as the decor of their houses. The money started to bloom, she bought a property and established "Floreria La Orquidea", her dream come true. Floreria La Orquidea flourished quickly become "Floreria y Estambres La Orquidea", a flower shop/haberdashery where I spent some summers playing among petals, wool stamens, ribbons, threads, and buttons.


If happiness had always been on Camerina's side, she would never have learned to germinate seeds from scratch (allegory to challenging things), maybe that's why she loved flowers so much.

During her life, she dropped so many tears after the death of her 2 daughters. First, my auntie who committed suicide for Love at the age of 17. After this, somehow she managed to glue the pieces of her heart again, but destiny was not done yet. She lost my Mom through a violent death and again she was taken by La Llorona to the most terrifying situation for a mother to be, the mourning of a second daughter.

They say that ”It is vital that we turn each tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.” I still don't understand how she managed to overcome so many battles against destiny. She was indeed a true warrior.

In honor of her many tears, I named this recipe ”Pearls of rice ”. She knew how to make the most wonderful dishes with humble ingredients, such as rice, tomatoes, eggs, and spicy peppers.

She died on the 13th of September 1994 at the age of 69.


FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY BY FOSCA

FOOD STYLING BY FOSCA & KRYSTAL

TEXT: KRYSTAL

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