Who’s blogging: Melissa Pitts (me), Abigail Garcia and Aurora Ibarra. I founded the website thinking it would just be some little project of mine. I always had a fondness for cooking and thought, ‘maybe I should write this down.’ I mentioned this to Abigail whom I had just met and she was on board the minute I explained my ideas and concept for the website. We live right smack dab in New York City and the blog has taken us to some amazing places in and out of the city I don’t think we would have ever tried otherwise. Sometimes we cook together, especially some of the more challenging recipes, other times we cook on our own and swap samples. Abigail is from Mexico City and her experience there has been priceless for the website. If it weren’t for her I would have never tried such treasures such as Rompope or tacos al pastor. My family is from Guatemala and I like to think if it weren’t for me, she would have never tried champurradas.
Aurora is vegetarian and lives in Monterrey, Mexico. Her recipes are particularly popular since people are always looking for alternatives to the same dishes. All three of us live to eat and have a tremendous amount of fun in our culinary adventures–whether in the United States, Mexico, or Guatemala.
Explain your blog name: The name Flaming Tortillas stems from a somewhat traumatic culinary experience I had when I was young. My mother (bless her!) didn’t learn to cook until she was in her mid-20s, married with children living in the United States. Her experience in the kitchen until that moment was well, non-existent. The family tradition of averting the kitchen goes back a couple of generations and it all came crashing down on my mother when she realized that she wasn’t in Kansas in anymore (or in her case, Guatemala). I remember one telling experience when one night for dinner, my mother decides to put a couple of tortillas in the oven and basically forgot about them until suddenly smoke starts appears in the kitchen! My mom then opened up the oven and there it was: a fire-breathing oven with flaming tortillas. This culinary experience at the ripe age of 6 years old, made me want to find out if there was more to eating than scorched tortillas, burnt toast, or mushy vegetables.
Blogging since: We’ve blogging since April 2011 and have never looked back. Since then I’ve made and tried food I never thought possible. Whether completely new to my palate or demystifying others – the last year and half has been nonstop eating, cooking, successes and failures!
Blogging from: Abigail and I are in New York City. We both came to the city for the same reasons and while the city can be a beast, cooking what’s familiar is a great cure for home-sickness. Aurora blogs from Monterrey, Mexico and it’s always interesting to see the dramatic difference between northern cuisine and the central, more eclectic food of Mexico City.
Most popular post: Hands down its been our conchas recipe. Who can resist sweet, flaky conchas? Whether from the grocery store or the corner bakery, people have fond memories of them. They are a labor of love but completely worth it. Abigail and I had a blast making them and they were devoured in minutes.
What you’ve learned about food while blogging: What I have learned most is that there are successes and failures and they are both important. Sometimes I make a dish and it’s a hit the first time I try it out. Other times it’s a frustrating disaster, but that’s okay too. I’ve learned from mistakes – some were obvious and others weren’t, but it’s all a process. Every blogger has had some major flops ( I documented mine with avocado ice cream), but those flops have helped fine-tune my technique and palate.
Where do you get inspiration for your posts? My inspiration doesn’t come from one source. I find inspiration everywhere, whether through dishes I grew up with (pepian and champurradas, for example), something I tried in a restaurant or the seasons. I grew up in Arizona and I didn’t really have seasons , so being here in New York with its top-notch, seasonal produce has been wonderful. Sometimes I’ll be at the market, see some fresh produce and my mind starts thinking about what to make! That was my inspiration for corn ice cream and squash blossom soup.
What have you learned from blogging? I learned so much about food photography from blogging this last year and a half. I cringe at some of my earlier photos but after doing my homework, investing in good camera equipment and lots of practice, I’m a lot prouder of the photos I’ve taken recently. It also helps that Abigail is a graphic designer and pro at Photoshop. Living in the city and blogging in the winter makes for terrible lighting, so thankfully she helps bring out the best in our photos.
Where else can we find you online? My pepian recipe was featured in the Washington Post and we’ve had our photos featured in Tastespotting and FoodGawker. The blog was also featured in Foodista. We also have a major presence on the Texas-based website, NewsTaco as we were their food contributors for over a year.
What are your favorite food blogs? I like to read Pati’s Mexican Table. Her voice and hard work she puts into her dishes really resonates with me. Other blogs I like to read and drool over are The Pioneer Woman (her photography is inspirational for foodies!) and FoodGawker. I also like to roam through Food52.com to see what people are making and eating at the moment–plus their hotline has gotten me out of some pickles in the past.