Jesús Ignacio Loreto de Arvizu. The Tortilla Maker: A Social and Historic Mexican American Narrative. ISBN13: 978-1500739874. $24.95


Ignacia Arvizu, a strong-willed Mexican teenager lost her father, a wealthy cattleman. Bandidos murdered him and stole the family fortune including all personal possessions; he left behind only an empty hacienda. Ignacia’s mother became destitute and had no choice but to find homes for her bright and attractive daughters. In 1913, Ignacia reluctantly entered--forced by her desperate mother--into an arranged marriage to an older, prosperous rancher in Sonora, Mexico. Ignacia, affectionately called Nana by her grandchildren, fought her abusive husband to protect her five children, among them Ramona, the author’s mother. Nana’s husband suddenly died of pneumonia leaving her once again destitute and now with five small children of her own. Nana--determined to find a better life--walked over a hundred miles with her children in tow for weeks, to reach the nearest city. This brave and exciting memoir recounts Nana’s, her daughter Ramona’s, and (Ramona’s son) the author Jesus’s amazing journey from third-world poverty to American prosperity.

Ramona divorced her abusive husband to face and overcome similar obstacles, like her mother, Nana, before her. She left to America in 1957 with Jesus-- called Nacho by his family-- and his five siblings in search of a better life. During many desperate times, these tortilla makers would rely on their wits and, ultimately, their skills preparing and selling their uniquely flavored foods influenced by early local French settlers, to survive, prosper, and eventually attaining the American dream.

. This enchanting narrative--which takes place in the rich historical area of Sonora, Mexico and the Southwest in United States--is a journey interspersed with haunting stories and fascinating tales of the Old and Wild West as Nacho narrates it. Read and join Wyatt Earp, Geronimo, César Chávez, and many others as Nacho relives these exciting legends in the vast Sonoran deserts and mountains and the Southwestern United States.

“A brave first book, this is an important story of a traditional hard working family. It is the story of Nana and a history that speaks to many of us who spent summers and Sundays looking up to our own Tortilla Maker!”

“Grandmothers, kitchens, tortillas, music, and labor in a small, dusty, Mexican town: The Tortilla Maker is both a memoir and homage to the author’s family that takes place primarily in Nacozari, Sonora, Mexico and follows the family’s journey into the U.S. The story begins with the family preparing for an early Sunday morning mass in the town church. Jesus Loreto de Arvizu, ‘Nacho’ as he is known, opens with this scene to evoke the nostalgia and familiarity that are prominent throughout the story.”

Jesus “Nacho” Loreto-Arvizu has written this first book acclaimed by early reviewers as a brave first work. As a family member of the tortilla makers, he opened his first restaurant naming it in honor of his mother Mama Ramona’s Mexican Restaurant and a second The Taco Kitchen. Later after a second career in business in computer marketing, including a stint at a local major newspaper, he wrote this first book. Jesus attended college in Ft. Lauderdale majoring in computer programming and business. A lifelong athlete, Nacho was a standout in track and field. Married and living again in Florida he is enjoying a third career, writing books detailing his adventurous life and a lifelong interest exploring local history and historical sites.