Most of us have a favorite food we enjoy or simply offers a pleasant feeling during any given time. My daughter and I have enjoyed Taco Tuesdays at home since she was 6 years old. Being a working mother rushing to get home does not allow much time to improvise during weekdays. The compromise for me has been to get creative Sunday through Thursday except for Tuesdays. The second day of the work week is when bring out all the trimmings and cook the ground beef for our delicious tacos.
Although, the national dish for Dominicans (La Bandera) consists of white rice, red beans, meat and salad. We opt to indulge in the Mexican treat more often for several reasons. Getting the right seasoning is key, once you find the recipe’s sweet spot with the right amount of tomato sauce it is delightful! Toppings like guacamole, shredded cheddar, chopped tomato and lettuce enhance the light fare in a crispy corn shell minus sour cream and hot sauce. Eliminating these condiments from tacos may give a few readers a shock but it is all about preference. Simple, satisfying and fun to prepare then sharing with your loved ones on a workday when the thought alone of cooking an intricate meal is exhausting.
Tacos were first seen in a US newspaper in 1905 around the time Mexican immigrants began arriving in the states to perform the labor in railroads and mines. The food was deemed as low class, street food. It was seen in festivals and in San Antonio’s Alamo. The Chilli Queens as it was called gave Americans a vibe of living on the edge. Bit of spice and eating food outside their usual palate preference added bit of excitement to their lives. It became a hit in the states when the children of immigrants began to modify the dish using the US processed ingredients available for purchase at the time. Tacos are a loaner from our immigrant Mexican neighbors and not invented by Taco Bell, as I believed growing up. Either way, we are happy to have a taco night at home without experiencing overconsumption. Thank you Mexico for bringing your inventive cuisine across the states for all to relish.
My daughter loves Colombian arepas, she might make the case that these masa cake looking snacks give tacos a run for their money. Similar to the Salvadoran Pupusas these broad flatbreads filled with cheese, meat or beans are just as wonderful. Older generation, Latin American cooks are extra careful as they perfect its form ensuring the filling does not spill over outside of a bite. Similar to the taco, pupusas were the poor man’s food. Immigrants in El Salvador were able to feed everyone in the family modestly by preparing these round shaped dough patties morning, noon and night. As tasty and delicious as they are, it will leave you feeling like there is a boulder in your stomach if you eat too many. The corn flour weighs heavily on your belly leaving your ready for a nap!
Anyone can make a case for the taco or pupusa but it comes down to individual taste. Both plates are infused with flavor and share humble beginnings. Either one you choose can create a sense of satisfaction and comfort, so enjoy!