Beer in a tortilla warmer, and other unbelievable home remedies

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readJun 23, 2017

I remember spending those long summer days at nana and tata’s house, during hot, Arizona weekends in the 1990’s. They put us to work, shining the bulky wooden furniture, and meticulously cleaning the complicated crevices of their bigger than life, vintage stereo console.

The thing was huge. With two doors that opened in the middle, the solid wood design was filled with curves and backed by red velvet material. It was a sight to see.

After a day of cleaning, I sensed a headache on the horizon. After complaining to nana, she cut up a potato, stuck one-half on each side of my head and wrapped it with a wet towel.

Laying down and looking up at the ceiling, all I could think of is how strange I must have looked in what was one of nana’s many methods to fix life’s discomforts. While I can’t remember if my headache was gone with this spud of a cure, I do remember feeling comforted by the assurance that she gave me.

Because we have the power to Google anything and solve most things with a fast-acting drug, funny sounding homemade remedies are becoming a lost art. Still, it seems that grandmas had answers for almost anything, and in many cases, they worked.

A couple of days ago, I told a friend to lay out a container with beer on his front porch. He was having an annoying cockroach problem. The next morning, a handful of the drunken insects were laying on their backsides.

The only mistake he made was using his wife’s tortilla warmer, a sacrilege dish in a Mexican-American household.

Speaking of over drinking, did you know that Vicks VapoRub cures hangovers? It’s true. Maybe. Actually, to a Mexican, Vicks VapoRub is a magician’s tool. It will eliminate dry skin, chapped lips, achy joints, coughs, sneezes, and colds.

The feeling of a mother’s hand as she rubs the cooling rub on your chest is a feeling every child should experience.

I’m not sure science can prove this one, but abuelas have been known to eliminate baby hiccups with a piece of red yarn.

Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.