Monday, November 12, 2012

I love tacos. I think the first time I had them was when I was about 10 or 11 years old, at my aunt's house. They seemed absolutely heavenly to me. In high school, my best friends and I used to get together and make them ourselves, but at that time, as far as we knew, the ready-made spice mix for the sauce wasn't available. So we did our best to come up with our own. We tried ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper, and anything else that came to mind that might be what we needed. But there was always just a little "oomph" that was missing. It wasn't until I was on my own and making my first batch of chili con carne that I discovered what it was. The instant I opened the spice box, I knew that cumin was the ingredient we had sought in vain. (Of course, by that time, Old El Paso was selling the seasoning and sauce, as well as the taco shells, in our NC grocery stores. Now there's a much wider range of products, available even in France where most people aren't crazy about spicy foods.) The first time I had tacos with sour cream was in 1977 when I spent the summer in Carson City, Nevada. Wonderful! Of course, in my book, for a taco to be The Real Deal, it has to have the meat cooked in spices, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and sauce. Sour cream is nice, but not mandatory. And the last thing I discovered for revving up my tacos was guacamole. I don't remember just when or where I found it, but I love it... with tacos or fajitas, or even just with tortilla chips (plain, please... the nacho cheese flavor overpowers or clashes with the dip). (Now, fajitas are another story, with their pico de gallo... but that's for a different day.)

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