Ivan and I have been together since 2006. During those years his mother magically produced little packets of corn-husk wrapped masa filled with beef, chicken, cheese or pineapple chunks. I didn't really know what went into the whole process but I growing up I was told it was a labor-intensive, it was "hard." I never met a cooking challenge I didn't want to master. Too much Anthony Bourdain maybe. If I was a still a teenage girl I would probably have posters of Food Network stars all over my room. Anyway, for the last several years I've wanted my mom-in-law to allow me to help her with the tamales since I never learned and it wasn't part of my family's tradition ever. 2017 turned out to be my lucky year! Ofelia generously shared her tamale-making magic and knowledge with us and I couldn't help but photo-document it.
I just wanted to see it for myself. Was it really worth all the attention? Were there really seemingly endless horizons of open blooming desert flowers? Oranges and whites scattered across green and yellow fields? Yes, there were. It was fun driving out almost two hours each way just to see some flowers and take some pictures.
Out on Lake Street in Riverside County is where to see them in person. I would say my curiosity has been satisfied. The pathway to these poppies is a dusty trail with scraggly rocks. The trail is wide, but on either end there tend to be drop-offs that aren't as steep as they look (but close). It looks like one would fall straight down the semi-dangerous slopes. Luckily I didn't, though it was a definite possibility.
Apparently these poppies aren't always around. This kind of bloom only occurs under the right prescription of conditions - lots of rainfall in the right places which is never a guarantee in California.
On a side note, poppies are known for their connection to opium. Although these California poppies are not opiates, I looked it up and found opiates are known as "analgesics," which means they are painkillers. It's been lovely to come out and see this analgesic scene to balance my daily routine. I kinda have this thing against routines. Totally worth the two hour drive each way and dusty feet. Definitely crossing my fingers for more rainfall and fields of flowers ASAP. It was very satisfying.
It truly was an experiment.