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Yoga at Home

El Licor de mi Abuela / My Grandmother's Liquor





Los recuerdos tienen olor, y esta es la historia de uno de ellos.

 

Cuando niño, miel, canela, cascara de naranja, leche y licor casero eran los aromas de las fiestas que hacíamos en mí barrio.

 

Cada año, en mi barrio, los padres y abuelos celebraban a los niños, Estas fiestas nacieron en forma espontanea por la inicitiva de un par de familias. Poco a poco se comenzaron a unir otras hasta que finalmente se convirtio en la mejor celebracion del año.


Las mujeres cocinaban, y los hombres ideaban los juegos que sospechaban que los niños disfrutarían. Los abuelos, por su parte, traían sus historias y recetas que las familias repetirían como parte de su herencia.

 

Hacíamos teatro, competencias, disfraces y cantábamos como si estuviésemos en la ducha. Eran las fiestas más esperadas por todas las familias que vivían en esa calle.

 

Sin embargo, la protagonista de toda esta celebración, sin duda, era mi abuela.

 

Mi abuela era una mujer pequeña, ágil con la mirada, lenta con el cuerpo y de una lengua sabia. Su historia estaba llena de vacíos que rellenaba con sin sentidos, aventuras peligrosas que transformaba en divertidas, y amores que no incluían a mí abuelo. Este se habia muerto algunos años atras, y no se hablaba mucho de el, tampoco preguntabamos, tiene que haber sido de esos secretos de familias que se almacenan para no ser sacados nunca.

 

Para ella la cocina era su mundo, ahí contaba sabrosas historias de amor, las hierbas entregaban sus poderes curativos en cada preparación, y el cariño era regalado en cada plato. Las celebraciones, para ella, requerían de preparación, y está fiesta del barrio no era la excepción.

 

Una semana antes del evento, ella comenzaba con los preparativos que atraían a todos aquellos que se entregaban a los olores que comenzaban a inundar nuestra casa.

 

La primera tarea era poner las cascaras de naranja en la chimenea para que se secaran con calor de hogar, así decía mi abuela. Estas comenzaban a enroscarse con mucha gracia hasta llegar a estar quebradizas, era en ese momento que desprendían un olor picante para la nariz, pero dulce para el pulmón.

 

Un par de días después, era el turno del licor casero. Embotellado justo después del verano, era almacenado por mí abuela en la oscura y asfixiante bodega. Era en esa bodega en donde solo las cosas importantes merecían estar allí. Ella descorchaba los botellones y los ponía junto a la ventana, para que tomasen lucidez, decía mi abuela.

 

El licor estaba hecho con las manzanas,y ciruelas,que se caían de los árboles y que nadie recogía, así resultaba de buen precio y con cuerpo, decía mi abuela.

 

El aroma de ese licor era espeso, se quedaba pegado en la nariz, el color era oscuro y la textura cremosa, como una miel de mora. El macerado del verano más la oscuridad de la bodega le daban ese olor a alcohol dulce que se nos pegaba a la nariz.

 

El paisano medio indio que vivía en el barrio era el encargado de la canela. Unas barras largas, aromáticas, descascaradas como unos troncos pequeños medio secándose, llegaban dos días antes de la preparación, ni un día antes ni un día después, todo estaba calculado con precisión. Para mí abuela era importante la preparación del ambiente, por eso los olores entraban en orden a casa.

 

La miel venia del campo de unos parientes que nunca conocí. Cada mes, mi abuela se subía al bus para ir a hablarle a las abejas, eso nos decía, pero yo creo que no había parientes sino un enamorado que tenía miel en su casa. Ella decía que las abejas le contaban historias y que por eso la miel era tan buena, porque no era cosa de llegar a robarles su trabajo, había que escucharlas.

 

Y así llegaba la miel, poco a poco, en frascos pequeños que eran almacenados en la bodega, al lado del licor, en ningún otro lugar, porque así ellos se podían ir enamorando para que el día de la preparación se consumara la relación, así decía mí abuela.

 

La leche era la última en llegar, era fresca, cremosa con olor a vaca y pasto recién triturado. Se veía el amarillo de la grasa en la parte superior del contenedor metálico. Aquel recipiente era pesado, yo el encargado de retirarla y llevarla a la cocina sin derramar ni una gota. Mi abuela la esperaba con el fuego a punto para ponerla a hervir, pero antes le sacaba los pelos de la vaca que habían caído dentro del contenedor.

 

Había llegado la hora, los ingredientes y las cacerolas estaban preparados para lo que sucedería. En ese momento, mi abuela cerraba la puerta de la cocina y no dejaba que nadie la interrumpiera. Entonces, la familia y amigos cercanos del barrio, nos instalábamos en la entrada para disfrutar de los olores que se apresuraban a invadirnos la imaginación con la mera idea de tomar aquel brebaje.  

 

A mí me parecía una eternidad toda esa preparación, pero cuando ya todo estaba listo, mi abuela nos llamaba, a mis hermanos y a mí, a envasar. Así, con un embudo y botellas limpias que habíamos recolectado en el barrio, nos disponíamos a meter el licor en los envases. Muchas botellas con corchos reutilizados eran tapadas para el día siguiente.

 

Mientras tanto, el barrio se transformaba: decoraciones, escenarios, mesas y sillas eran dispuestas para la comida más grande del año. Los vecinos disponían sus platos en la mesa, y los niños éramos informados de las actividades preparadas. El ambiente era festivo, alegre, enérgico, colorido … y aromatizado por el licor de mí abuela.

 

Ella hacía su entrada triunfal a la calle con una botella en la mano, y mi padre atrás arrastrando las javas repletas de botellas. En ese momento, recibía los aplausos de todos e inmediatamente cada copa cogía su ración, incluidos los niños.

 

Recuerdo esa sensación de placer como si fuese ayer, mientras mi abuela compartía el elixir para todos los presentes, y yo sintiéndome el muchacho más feliz de la tierra. 

 

Estos recuerdos tienen el olor al licor de mi abuela, aún más, tienen el olor de mí abuela. 


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Memories have a smell, and this is the story of one of them.

When I was a child, honey, cinnamon, orange peel, milk, and homemade liquor were the aromas of the parties we had in my neighborhood.


Every year, in my neighborhood, parents and grandparents celebrate children. These parties were born spontaneously by the initiative of a couple of families. Little by little others began to join until it finally became the year's best celebration

.

The women cooked, and the men devised the games they suspected the children would enjoy. The grandparents, for their part, brought their stories and recipes that the families would repeat as part of their inheritance.


We did theater, competitions, and costumes and sang as if we were in the shower. They were the most anticipated holidays for all the families who lived on that street.


However, the protagonist of this entire celebration, undoubtedly, was my grandmother.


My grandmother was a tiny woman, agile with her eyes, slow with her body, and with a wise tongue. His story was full of gaps filled with nonsense, dangerous adventures that he transformed into fun, and loves that did not include my grandfather. He had died a few years ago, and not much was said about him, nor did we ask, it must have been one of those family secrets that are stored never to be brought out.


For her, the kitchen was her world, there she told tasty love stories, the herbs delivered their healing powers in each preparation, and affection was given in each dish. Celebrations, for her, required preparation, and this neighborhood party was no exception.


A week before the event, she began the preparations that attracted all those who surrendered to the smells that began to flood our house.


The first task was to put the orange peels in the fireplace so that they would dry in the heat of the home, that's what my grandmother said. These began to curl very gracefully until they became brittle, it was at that moment that they gave off a spicy smell to the nose, but sweet to the lungs.


A couple of days later, it was the turn of the homemade liquor. Bottled just after summer, it was stored by my grandmother in the dark and suffocating cellar. It was in that warehouse where only the important things deserved to be there. She uncorked the bottles and put them next to the window so that they could gain clarity, my grandmother said.


The liquor was made with apples and plums that fell from the trees and that no one picked, so it was a good price and full-bodied, my grandmother said.


The aroma of that liquor was thick, it stuck to the nose, the color was dark and the texture was creamy, like blackberry honey. The summer maceration plus the darkness of the winery gave it that smell of sweet alcohol that stuck to our noses.


The half-Indian countryman who lived in the neighborhood was in charge of the cinnamon. Long, aromatic bars peeled like small half-drying logs, arrived two days before preparation, neither a day before nor a day after, everything was calculated with precision. For my grandmother, preparing the environment was important, that's why the smells entered the house in order.


The honey came from the fields of relatives I never met. Every month, my grandmother would get on the bus to go talk to the bees, that's what she told us, but I think there were no relatives but a lover who had honey in his house. She said that the bees told her stories and that was why the honey was so good because there was no question of stealing their work, you had to listen to them.


And so the honey arrived, little by little, in small jars that were stored in the cellar, next to the liquor, nowhere else, because in this way they could fall in love so that on the day of preparation the relationship would be consummated, thus my grandmother said.


The milk was the last to arrive, it was fresh, and creamy with the smell of cow and freshly crushed grass. The yellow of the grease was visible on the top of the metal container. That container was heavy, I was in charge of removing it and taking it to the kitchen without spilling a drop. My grandmother was waiting for her with the fire ready to boil it, but first, she removed the cow hair that had fallen into the container.


The time had come, the ingredients and the pans were prepared for what would happen. At that time, my grandmother closed the kitchen door and did not let anyone interrupt her. So, the family and close friends of the neighborhood would settle at the entrance to enjoy the smells that rushed to invade our imagination with the mere idea of ​​drinking that concoction.


All that preparation seemed like an eternity to me, but when everything was ready, my grandmother called my brothers and me to pack. So, with a funnel and clean bottles that we had collected in the neighborhood, we prepared to put the liquor into the containers. Many bottles with reused corks were corked for the next day.


Meanwhile, the neighborhood was transformed: decorations, stages, tables, and chairs were set up for the biggest meal of the year. The neighbors arranged their dishes on the table, and the children were informed of the activities prepared. The atmosphere was festive, happy, energetic, colorful... and flavored by my grandmother's liquor.


She made her triumphant entry into the street with a bottle in her hand, and my father behind him dragging the javas full of bottles. At that moment, he received everyone's applause and immediately each glass got its share, including the children.


I remember that feeling of pleasure as if it were yesterday, while my grandmother shared the elixir with everyone present, and I felt like the happiest boy on earth.


These memories have the smell of my grandmother's liquor, even more, they have the smell of my grandmother.







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