7 Days 7 Meals Day 3 Tacos
Tacos….Is there anyone who has not had one?? Do I have to go into the history and what goes into them?
I am going to take a leap here and say NO! for both questions.
You will be seeing a theme develop in this series of 7 Days 7 Meals. The theme, in America we are all connected by immigration and food. Some foods more deeply than others but unless you are Native American and are eating only indigenous food(which by the way has an awesome food movement going on now and I will find a way in the future to look at that) but today is the third in a series of seven about honoring Anthony Bourdain by eating the foods he loved, reported on and shared with us the viewer/reader/listener.
Mexico for me is one of the greatest places on the planet. I am sure in a former life I was a small round woman from Puebla who cooked for a living and ate like she was making money at it.
Between my former life as a Mexican cook and my time in the food service industry in Chicago and other locals my feelings on immigration and documentation echo Anthony Bourdain. I have found myself saying and writing the same words as he without even knowing it. Two days before his death I wrote Wedding Cakes, Mexican Food and Hummus nearly echoing the following by Bourdain.
“Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal and Mexican beer every year. America loves Mexican people — as we sure employ a lot of them . . .” Bourdain said.
“We love Mexican drugs. Maybe not you personally, but “we,” as a nation, certainly consume titanic amounts of them — and go to extraordinary lengths and expense to acquire them. We love Mexican music, Mexican beaches, Mexican architecture, interior design, Mexican films,” he continued.
“So why don’t we love Mexico?”
There are many things in life I do not understand but how so many can indulge in the culture of Mexico through eating the food and yet scream for a wall to be built. To think separating parents from children is ok because they crossed a desert or river to come for a better life. Not acknowledging they need the better life now not 10 years from now. It is why they take the risks they do.
They also come because we have jobs for them. I know this because I have worked my entire life in an industry that relies on documented and undocumented labor to run. You see folks Americans do not want these jobs. They do not want to squat in 100 degree heat and pick berries or flip burgers over a 600 degree open flame grill. Americans for the most part don’t want to start in a restaurant by washing dishes or sweeping floors.
I admittedly get very vocal about this subject but it all comes from a place of love. I love Mexico, I love tacos and after getting hot and sweaty running around a restaurant I had meal 3.
Day 3 Meal 3- Local Cantina ,Westerville Ohio
“we, as a crew, are happiest when the day’s work is over. We’ll gather round a street stall and order soft tacos with fresh, bright, delicious tasting salsas—drink cold Mexican beer, sip smoky mezcals, listen with moist eyes to sentimental songs from street musicians.” ~Anthony Bourdain on eating tacos after work
You see I was born already having consumed more Mexican food than most teenagers. When my mother was pregnant with me she could not get enough Mexican food. In her words……
“We ate the usual tortillas, tacos, Mexican rice and tamales. Anything we could get homemade at Joseph’s market. Plus I put hot sauce in everything.” ~my Mom describing her pregnancy with yours truly
I crave the stuff to this day. If you told me I could eat nothing but tacos for the rest of my life I would thrive.
All of this…finding a new place close to home to enjoy tacos at(Local Cantina). The reading of Bourdains words on getting sentimental over tacos and salsa, to my mom telling me about my diet before I was even born.
I sit here reliving many major events in my life and have realized that so many have come in some way thru Mexican food.
I was born sucking on a taco. The nourishment my mother found in Mexican food traveled directly into me. I ate tacos, tamales and Mexican rice as a child growing up. My dad was known for his margarita recipe and as far back as I can remember I sipped those. I remember taking a taste off my moms glass as a child the foam hitting my nose and the salt from the rim touching my lips. It was all the further I got until I was older but there was something so appealing about the salty sweetness of that experience that it stays with me to this day.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that I have fallen in love at least twice over a margarita and a bowl of chips and salsa. Is there any better feeling than remembering the time place and thing where you knew someone was going to change your life, rock your world and make you feel things.
I also realized as I wrote this one of the many life changing experiences one can go thru is loosing a parent. My dad died of cancer when I was 30. It changed me in many ways some to personal to talk about. Others not even realized till today.
Remembering one awesome night with he and my mom at the restaurant Boca Chia in St. Paul. MN the same restaurant they would eat at when my mom was pregnant with me and she was trying to fill those cravings. It was the last real night out I had with my dad. Maybe it was our joint realization that from that point forward everything was going to change. So we enjoyed the night. We all really enjoyed the night!
I have held onto my anger for 20 years about the days leading up to my dad dying. There were circumstances that made me miss the last coherent hours of my dad’s life. Today I came to the realization I actually had my goodbye a few months earlier over a plate of tacos and margaritas. There is great joy in that. A joy I did not know I had until I sat down to write about Anthony Bourdain and Mexico.
We need to be kind to each other. As Americans we have to start acknowledging how important our neighbors to the South are. Their food and traditions nourish us, give us good times, and make memories. For that alone we should not want to build a wall, we should want to build a bridge!
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