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Frying tamales and the Grammys

The day after Thanksgiving and my family is all in the kitchen in in laws in San Diego  making fried  corn and strawberry tamales and a Mexican omelet* with caso Oxacaño (cheese from the town of Oxaca) and homemade salsa verde with aqua fresca hormica (non alcoholic).  No leftover turkey in sight – wait until dinner .  We have had our coffee and some leftover cornbread earlier and did chigong exercises, so now it is time to eat.

Elsten Torres is on the stereo, streaming via Bluetooth from my phone.  We are cooking to strains of  Elsten  Torres, one of my favorite Latino singer/songwriters.  If you don’t know Torres , you should check him out.  A double Grammy nominee, he sings mostly in English in his own recordings, but writes in English and Spanish for  Ricky MartinLuis Fonsi,  Alejandra GuzmánJulio Iglesias Jr. Aleks SyntekJohn Rich (Big & Rich) and many others and recently released his  second all-English album, Waiting for Clouds, which is great cooking (and loving ) music.

Speaking of Grammy nominations, they were announced this week by the Academy.  Some were pretty much expected—Doja Cat with and without SZA, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga, Hans Zimmer, Little Naz X, H.E.R., and John Baptiste for everything.

There were some surprises and nominations that made me especially happy – or thankful, since this is the season.  Mon Laferte, who won a Latin Grammy last week and then performed, backed by a  Mariachis Lindas Mexicanas  with my good friend Nancy Sanchez in the back with a mask and a guitar. LaFerte was on my radio show a couple of years ago and was a trip to interview.

Another happy surprise is Olivia Rodrigo as Best New Artist.  She was on my show last year and I have been keeping my eye on her , and recommended her song  “Drivers License” on my Hot Half Dozen recommendations.  For 18 years  old, she writes sophisticated lyrics and delivers them with poise and emotion.   I also loved seeing Los Lobos nominated fo best Americana song, “Native Sons”.

Torres was not in the list this year, even though his song “Closer Tonight” is rapidly becoming a classic love song and has over 400,000 streams on Spotify.  Maybe next year,  In the meantime we are going to go back to frying tamales for our post Thanksgiving breakfast.

Patrick O’Heffernan

*eggs, shredded Oxacan cheese, onion, powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, avocado chunks, , chopped cilantro, cooked in the same non-stick, high-sided pan that the salsa verde was sautéed in. Stir until firm at medium heat  and then step away from the pan until it forms a light crust on the bottom. Serve on tortillas with salsa verde



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (442 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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