We sat on the floor of the newly constructed tiny house eating fried chicken legs. This was the first meal this little home would see. In a collaboration with families from California and a minister in Mexico, a young family would move from their cardboard hut to a house with screens on the windows to keep the flies out and a floor that didn’t turn to mud when it rained. It was an occasion to celebrate, the chicken along with tortillas and fresh salsa—our feast.
The day started early as we pulled up to the dirt lot where the house would be built. In anticipation of the new home that would stand in that location, red geraniums had been planted bring a pop of joy to the otherwise drab landscape.
Once decided where the house would stand, a frenzy of hammering and painting mixed with conversations in broken Spanglish and the laughter that comes with it began. The whole process became the conduit for two cultures to come together. And, as the house went up, so did hope for a better life.
When noontime drew near, more friends and family arrived to witness the ‘house-raising’ and prepare a meal for its workers. The ‘kitchen’ in which the chicken was cooked that day was an open fire in the yard. This was where all the cooking happened for this family, and they were experts in dealing with open flame, creating chicken that was crispy, moist, and delicious. Every bite was savored, leaving nothing but the empty bowl at the end of the meal.
The experience of working side-by-side would change communities both sides of the border. The house, as great a thing as it was, was not the star of the day. Relationships were built with each nail that was hammered. Memories were created, and when looking back, they would be listed as some of the best.
We have always held to the hope, the belief,the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
I have included some recipes for your enjoyment just in case you would like to recreate our celebration feast. It was delicious.
The fried chicken served on this day was literally just chicken fried in oil over the open flame. No flour dredge. No nothing. But, YES on delicious.
Not keen on boiling oil over an open fire? ‘Yikes’ is all I have to say!
Simply bake or grill your chicken with a little seasoning for a yummy outcome.
Pico de Gallo
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
- salt to taste
Combine ingredients and chill for an hour.
This a new recipe I tried using a food processor and a tortilla press.
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place all ingredients into food processor. Pulse several times until a soft dough ball is formed.
- Remove, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Divide into eight pieces.
- Press each piece between parchment paper with tortilla press. Reposition a quarter turn and press again.
- Cook over medium heat in lightly oiled skillet about 1 minute each side, or until lightly browned.
For more on this great ministry along with videos of house builds and ways you can get involved, see Hands of Mercy website.