It's bittersweet opening up my parent's Mexican food cookbook dated 1944, a book that cost all of $1.25.When I got to the tamale page, it had some food and cooking oil stains. I ran my fingers across the page thinking back to the times they both made delicious tamales together. My parents, Howard and Irma Jury, originally came from California, so they liked to include raisins inside the filling. It wasn't until years later that my mother shared with me that making tamales was a labor of love and hard work.I can't even get started on making the tamales from the old book but we found several good places to buy homemade and delicious ones, like Tommy's Tamales in Grapevine - they are consistently wonderful, as are the ones from Fort Worth, Hot Damn Tamales. The basic Mexican Bean recipe is also featured in this recipe book which, to this day, still is teaching me things I didn't know about bean cooking like starting the beans in warm water so the skins won't be thick; I learned something. We eat some type of bean at least once a week, so this little hint is quite helpful.April has always been my favorite month for several reasons like a good time to garden, as well as my birthday which is also our wedding anniversary. I made sure the Mikester will never forget our anniversary. But with April beginning as cool, rainy and windy, I am still waiting for more typical April days. And we won't even mention the allergies which I have to endure along with millions of others. But, living in Texas is assuring because we get exciting spring weather, can grill outside almost year-round; as cooks, we inherit many different kinds of food recipes.• Inside one of the pages was a folded up recipe, "Deep in the Heart of Corn Bread," which I have made-often freezing the many extra ones.Deep In the Heart Corn BreadTo this recipe I sometimes add a little cumin.1 chopped white onion (or sweet one)3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese4 eggs1 (14 and 3/4 ounces) can creamed corn1 (16 ounce) carton sour cream1/2 cup oil1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapenos or 4 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine1 cup yellow cornmeal1 cup flour1 Tablespoon baking powder1 teaspoon saltChop onion. Grate cheese to get about 1 and 1/2 cups.Beat eggs in large mixing bowl. Stir in creamed corn, sour cream, and oil. Fold in onion, cheese and jalapenos.Add cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.Pour batter into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes (until brown on top).This makes 18 servings or many muffins. We freeze what's left over, storing in a Lock and Lock (plastic bowl with tight fitting lid). This way we can take out some when we want to and just heat up. If you want the corn bread to not be too spicy, I would suggest cutting back on the jalapenos. This recipe travels well and is good served with a simple dinner salad.• Basic Mexican (Frijoles) Beans Recipe (from the 1944 Mexican cookbook)A meal is not a meal in Mexico unless beans are served in some form or another. A favorite way is refried. Many characteristic dishes are accompanied by beans; for instance, tacos, tostadas and enchiladas. Start them in warm water. Soaking beans is only suggested if the beans are old. They are simmered, never boiled, all through the cooking, with frequent stirring; and they are cooked until they begin to break open. Salt is added during the last half hour of cooking. Many Mexicans use small red beans, but many Texans use pinto beans. Basic RecipePut 2 cups Mexican or Pinto beans on to cook in 5 cups lukewarm water, and cook gently, covered until tender ( 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours). Add salt to taste, the last half hour of cooking. In frying pan, heat 1/2 cup bacon drippings (or lard). Drain some of the beans (saving liquid), add to hot fat and mash thoroughly. This serves to thicken the gravy. Add more liquid, a little at a time, repeating the procedure until all beans and all liquid have been used. Then continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mixture is of thickness desired. The stirring is important since the beans burn easily. This recipe serves 4-6.I make my beans so differently but I love the taste of other beans folks have made, maybe this explains "why" they come out thicker and delicious.Next time, we'll venture into more Mexican food recipes that the Thompsons have tried and enjoyed over the years.Let's hope we get more typical April weather so we can finish planting seeds and vegetables as well as getting some flowers in our yards.