"Tortilla Flat" Tortilla Quote

Like I said earlier, I’ve been reading like a madman. I made it through Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five” (which is good) and am almost done with Bill Bryson’s “A Brief History of Nearly Everything” (the illustrated edition) which sounds almost as impressive as it actually is. I also decided that Steinbeck is getting better and better, and that “The Pearl” must have just sucked because we had to read it in fifth grade. Anyhow, I read his book “Tortilla Flat,” and it had a good quote that I wanted to share which is about, of all things, tortillas and beans. I like it because even though rice is the grain of choice here, tortillas are still damn popular, and people still love their beans. Plus, there’s the mild bit of possible blasphemy which Spanish speakers seem to relish throwing into conversation. It made me laugh, anyhow:

“At about this time in California it became the stylish thing for school nurses to visit the classes and to catechize the children on intimate details of their home life. In the first grade, Alfredo was called to the principal’s office, for it was thought that he looked thin.
The visiting nurse, trained in child psychology, said kindly, “Freddie, do you get enough to eat?”
“Sure,” said Alfredo.
“Well, now. Tell me what you have for breakfast.”
“Tortillas and beans,” said Alfredo.
The nurse nodded her head dismally to the principal.
“What do you have when you go home for lunch?”
“I don’t go home.”
“Don’t you eat at noon?”
“Sure. I bring some beans wrapped up in a tortilla.”
Actual alarm showed in the nurse’s eyes, but she controlled herself. “At night what do you have to eat?”
“Tortillas and beans.”
Her psychology deserted her. “Do you mean to stand there and tell me you eat nothing but tortillas and beans?”
Alfredo was astonished. “Jesus Christ,” he said, “what more do you want?”

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