Context: My informant is a 23 year-old woman who is of Chamorro descent. She grew up in San Francisco and moved to L.A. for college. She described a common practice for her family growing up surrounding food, particularly a snack called “titiyas”. Her Chamorro family passed on this recipe throughout the generations. She loves them because they remind her of her grandma.
“So I’m really close with my grandma, I’m the favorite and vice versa hahaha. But, growing up we would always make different Chamorro food and one of my favorite snacks to have is called “titiyas” and they’re basically.. like sweeter and a little bit thicker than tortillas. Me and my grandma would have it with cheese or butter usually. Recently, I moved away from home and asked my grandma what the recipe was. She couldn’t give me any measurements or anything and said I just had to watch and taste. I mean that is how she learned and she was the oldest girl of 11 kids so she just learned by watching her mom. Sometimes she still sends me “titiyas” in the mail to eat the next day, I love it.”
I loved this story from my informant! It reminded me a lot of how my Cuban grandmother makes “arroz con pollo” (chicken with rice), a popular dish for Cuban people. My grandma never has the right measurements and just goes off of how it looks and smells. It is so sweet how her grandma is able to send her “titiyas” still. My grandma also packs me the Cuban dish every time I go to her house.
It is interesting how this recipe had been in her family for so long and it had still not been written down. This shows how important oral tradition has been as well as how important sharing in person human experience is. Now with technology, you can talk to more people than ever before, but you lose the opportunity of experiencing all the senses with that person. Cooking together at home with family, there is nothing else like it.