Did you know the phrase, “Taco Tuesday”, was trademarked by a restaurant owner who apparently prosecutes it — though used all over the USA? We had a place in Baltimore whose owner somehow trademarked a commonly used term here — “Baltimore Hon” — and that went over like the Hindenburg. So, let’s all openly celebrate our melting pot cuisine and proudly declare for eating tasty tacos on Tuesdays!
Sure, sometimes it’s fun to go out, but that gets expensive fast. Tacos, even fairly gourmet ones, are very budget-friendly if you make them at home. Now, I do lament the largest national taco ingredient company apparently taking mini tacos off the market. When I was in law school, I made this recipe in a mini food processor: take a whole clove of garlic, a scoop of mayo, a bag of shredded cheddar cheese, hot sauce, a little salt and process. I filled up mini shells and snacked on them! They were so little and cute! Admittedly, I have learned a little more about nutrition since then.
Now, I should have known more about nutrition, because my mom knows about such things: she fed us properly on very little cash. I grew up in the “malaise” 70s, when people would siphon gas out of my mom’s Dodge Dart. The Iranian Hostage Crisis made people stop buying the Oriental rugs that my dad sold in his furniture store. One babysitter stole our grocery money for the week after drinking my parents’ booze. We had to create fun where we could. My mom was able to make taco night a special little thing to look forward to!
My mom sauteed ground chuck back in the day, but today it would be ground turkey. It’s something to consider — she has barely aged over the years. You can use slow cooked pork, seasoned offal, wild game, even braised wild mushrooms as a base. She would chop in some “cocktail tomatoes” that she had grown, that were basically oddly shaped heirloom grape tomatoes. While as a little kid, I wished she were a “better farmer”, I wish I had those tomatoes at hand today! She also sauteed up some onions, never minced up enough for my taste. I get it — I get lazy and do a rough chop, too. But do as I say and not as I do! Mince, mince, finely mince. You can get a pack of taco seasoning — that’s what she did — or put together your own spicy cumin mix. Put out some bits of fresh iceberg lettuce, chopped olives and shredded cheese. Avocado slices are hot these days, but pre-made guacamole is tasty, too! You can add lime slices, radish slices, fresh cilantro, hot sauce, crisp corn kernels, black beans.
But instead of them toppling over on your plate — “awwwww!” — and digging the fixings out of repurposed yogurt containers, now you can elevate your tacos to guest status! And, face it: if you’re “the guest”, you deserve it too.
There’s a company that makes such cute, affordable housewares: Prepara! I was happy to be hosted to experience it. They have all kinds of taco utensils and servers that look like ceramic, but are easy care, hard melamine — an organic compound laminate. That’s a lot better than the lead-paint ceramic red plates we had in the 1970s. Prepara products won’t chip. They’re light and would be gorgeous at a picnic, barbeque or at a beach party.
The 3 Section Tray lets you keep your fixings — even the goopy ones — separate and attractive. It’s attractive enough to be used as a jewelry or guest soap tray! The patterns are rustic and seem hand-painted. It comes in a couple different base colors.
Don’t you hate making your food truck award winning taco, only to have it all fall apart on your plate? Those days are over! Prepara has single and multiple taco holders in a good selection of colors and patterns — also with a hand-crafted look. They’d also be perfect to hold napkins rolled around silverware for entertaining.
The pieces all nest well together: great for tiny houses and tiny apartments!