I grew up in North Carolina, among a family of New Jersey natives and first generation Americans. I can distinctly remember the day I watched Sesame Street and there was a film short of a little boy from Mexico whose mother was making burritos. “Mom, look at this food. It’s like a flat pancake with meat and cheese in it,” I remember excitedly saying as I tugged at my mom in the kitchen to get her attention. Burritos were fascinating and as foreign to me as pierogies were to my husband when we first married.
After high school I went to the college in Pasadena California, married my native Californian husband, and moved to central California for seven years. I was surrounded by the world of burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and Garcia JosJos fast food in Modesto, California with the really amazing salsa. Oh yes, I experienced the world of salsa.
In college while living the life of poor college kids, Dennis and I have a favorite memory of walking down Colorado Blvd to eat at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant. The name is long forgotten but the food memory is not. With our change (I am not exaggerating) we shared a huge plate of tortillas, beans, rice, and cheese and the endless bowls of chips and salsa. Nowadays as we drink our $14 cocktails and ridiculously overpriced entrees, we marvel back on how much we enjoyed that simple, simple meal.
In 1996 we moved to Northwest Arkansas for our careers. The only Mexican restaurant in town at that time was Chimi’s in Rogers. Imagine our surprise when we ordered rice and beans and they served… rice pilaf! That was then and this is now and we have plenty of Latin-inspired restaurants and the ingredients to make our own burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and salsas.
Which brings me to my opening question: Every family needs a “family fav.” What’s yours?
Ours is the infamous family tacos. And almost any given Friday night one of us seems to be preparing it and inviting other members of the family over. The ingredients are kept simple and served buffet style to suit everyone’s needs: some like ground turkey, some like ground meat, I like corn tortillas (no oil, thank you) and others like skillet fried flour tortillas. But the end result is the same: great comfort food shared with the love of family. I’d like to say a special thanks to Nathan and Alicia for the past two Friday nights of family taco’s.
It’s not too late or too complicated to start your own family tradition and watch it expand!
Do you already have a family fav tradition? Share it with us!