April 2, 2017

La Estrella Bakery, South Tucson, AZ. April, 2010

When I returned from Nogales, Mexico, to South Tucson, I decided to explore. Through residential neighborhoods (guarded by vigilant barking dogs), I made my way to Spanish-speaking South 12th Avenue and La Estrella Bakery, which I’d read was the “Best of Tucson” in a newspaper’s readers’ poll. A counter, a display case, a table with day-old breads, a back area where the baking is done -- this is a no-nonsense operation. Except for the names of some of the panes dulces on sale. Because of Nick’s interest in Mexican baking, I had to buy some: lenguas de suegra (mother-in-law’s tongues), piernas (legs), hebillas (belt buckles), elotes (corn), orejas (ears), coyotes, pig cookies and two kinds of pan de huevo. I headed back outside into the bright daylight where, I realized, I should photograph these sweets before someone ate them. I found a sunny curbstone, spread the pastries out along the opened box and got ready to shoot. Just then, an emaciated, really toxic-looking drunk man shuffled up and asked me why I was “taking pictures of the donuts.” I explained as simply as I could, and then asked him if he’d like one. “No thanks,” he said, “I’m watching my weight.”

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