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When they arrive, all that remains is a layer of ash. Esperanza, the narrator’s mother, returns from her honeymoon and unearths Tita’s cookbook from the ash. After Esperanza dies, she passes the cookbook on to her daughter. Later the ash makes the land on the ranch incredibly fertile.
Esperanza builds an apartment building on the ranch and she and her family live off the fresh fruits and vegetables from the land. It is on this land where the makes cinnamon rolls to celebrate her birthday. She expects her father, Alex to visit and celebrate with her. The narrator wonders why she has never been able to make cinnamon rolls as well as her mother and why she always cries when cooking them. She muses that she must be sensitive to onions like her great-aunt Tita.