Sunday, December 5, 2010

Taqueria Thanksgiving






Thanksgiving is a rough holiday to celebrate abroad. As friends and family gather back home, expats either try to ignore the thoughts of turkey or mount large-scale reproductions of the gluttony, matching local ingredients to traditional recipes. Or, they binge on tacos and beer. With the complicity of my friend Matt, that is what I did.











Tacos, to be fair, take many forms, none of them resembling the crunchy, u-shaped, hard-shelled monstronsities served in middle school cafeterias. The basic idea--a soft corn tortilla filled with something--can become tacos de canasta, tacos de cabeza, tacos al pastor, tacos de mariscos, tacos al carbon, or tacos de guisado. Fillings come shaved off giant spits of seasoned pork, plucked from a cauldron of grease and diced into nuggets that melt on your tongue, flaked from the bones of meat simmered in rich sauces and ladled into the tortilla, or grilled over pungent charcoal and marinaded in their own smoke...








The humble taco is a meal at all hours. Savory and moist, warmed with steam and pulled from a basket on a street corner, it can be a satisfying breakfast. Served at sunny folding tables with plastic stools and topped with guacamole, it makes for a quick lunch. But most often, it is a meal for the night, when cantinas are closing and the warmth of the food and the spice of the salsa cuts the nip in the air.







There is, perhaps, a strange affinity between tacos and Thanksgiving. If the traditional autumn meal is best consumed in the cozy confines of a warm home amongst friends and family, the best taquerias are snug and comforting in their own way. There is a communion among those who slip into these dim nooks seeking a bit of rest and a quick meal; it is in the passing of salsas and the offerings of seats, in the crossed glances and murmured 'provecho's. Huddled around a cramped counter dotted with bowls of salsa, a bare bulb overhead pushing back the darkness, there is indeed much to be thankful for.


6 comments:

Fred said...

Finalmente, I have been waiting for the tacos y cerveza post since you started this blog. Gracias!

Anne said...

YOU'RE MAKING ME HUNGRY!

Alicia said...

sooooooooo gooood! I would have traded my turducken for street tacos, no joke!

Moho from afar said...

Basta! I second Anne's comment. Now I am going to have to go find me a real Mexican taco...oh wait, there is an authentic taqueria 3 feet away from my apartment. Man, I love NY...but I am sure DF is great too...

Anne said...

C - did you ever go to Taqueria DF (in ColHi) or Taqueria Nacional (CapHill) when you were in DC?

M - MORE TACOS MAKE ME HUNGRY!

Anonymous said...

Hola Mike,
Vi tu blog de tus experiencias en México. Yo he viajado a México unas veces cuando era niña y era interesante leer de cómo vive usted. Una vez en México, estaba visitando mis tíos cuando compramos unos tacos para cenar. Estuve enferma una semana y desde aquella vez, no me han gustado los tacos, pero cuando leí tu blog del Día de Acción de Gracias, ¡quería comerlos! Lástima que no pudieras regresar a casa, pero los tacos se ven deliciosos.  También vi el blog del Día de los Muertos. No tomé la clase de español cuando estaba en la escuela intermedia y mis padres no lo celebran. No sé nada del día. Solo sé que a veces hay tamales…? ¿Qué son las copas con agua blanca? ¡Las fotos son increíbles! No sabía que era tan importante ese día y que llevaran tantas flores para sus seres queridos en los cementerios. Voy a tratar de aprender más porque debo de saber estas cosas, es mi cultura (mis padres son de México). ¡Espero que tengas una feliz navidad! en México o en tu casa si puedes regresar.

-Caroline(Spanish 102)