Recipes For Those With No Mouths
American Tacos - Circa 1959
Knock on the door to our 800 square foot utopian house in the LA suburbs of Whittier, and as my smiling, bespectacled father lets you inside, you will be able to immediately recognize the amazing aroma of my mother’s Americanized Tacos; absolutely unauthentic, but nevertheless, the best recipe for home-made Tacos anywhere in the United States, or Mexico for that matter. On the TV is Ward Bond as the Wagon Master on the top-rated show of the 1959 season: Wagon Train. Later, Perry Mason will air and then The Rifleman with Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford.
And by the time all those great Tacos are happily consumed, Lucas McCain will have blown away about three more bad guys with that very cool rifle of his.
Go to your local supermarket and pick up these essential ingredients for “American Tacos – Circa 1959:”
This recipe is for a family of 4 white people who do not know a word of Spanish.
Procure 2 pounds of the best ground round meat. (Lowest fat content available).
(Elmer the Butcher worked at the old Model Market in Whittier back in 1959 and he wore big thick spectacles. To this 7 year old boy, it seemed he always carried around a big bloody meat cleaver, at least when my mother ordered the 2 pounds of “ground round” from him).
Procure a bag of at least a dozen corn tortillas, freshly made.
(Smell them first.
If they smell like chemicals, don’t buy them).
(The tortilla truck was driven by a Mexican man with a big, bushy mustache.)
Procure a fresh head of lettuce, a ripe tomato, one fresh head of green onions…
And to Mexicanize it, some cilantro.
(Lester, the Produce Manager at the old Model Market back in 1959, always had a water hose in his hands; always watering the produce, and he had on a little white hat made of paper as he worked in the back of the store, where all the produce was).
Procure a bag of pre-grated cheddar cheese.
Pick up some cooking oil for frying the tortillas.
Procure a can of chile beans, without the carne.
Two others items that are recommended:
A bottle of mild La Victoria taco sauce and,
A container of Hampshire sour cream.
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan, and
Turn up the flame at its highest and hottest.
Gently place the Ground Round meat in the pan, and, with a cooking spoon,
Break it all up into little morsels of meat.
Add a smidgen of salt, and a liberal dose of pepper as it cooks.
It will require about 10-12 minutes to complete this step.
Stir the meat frequently as it sizzles.
Add some garlic powder as its color changes from red to brown.
Turn down the flame the last 5 minutes.
Prepare the lettuce, tomato, green onions and cilantro, by
Cutting, chopping and dicing it all with a clean, cleaver knife.
Use small bowls for each chopped up/diced ingredient.
Set a medium flame under a cooking pan with the chile beans emptied inside.
Cook the beans for 10 minutes.
Be sure to stir them once in a while.
Now, pour two to three cups of vegetable oil inside another cooking pan
And place over a full flame.
When the cooking oil is bristling hot, it is time to fry the tortillas.
With a pair of tongs, fry each corn tortilla in the hot oil for approximately 2 minutes.
The desired result? The tortilla is crispy and a bit chewy at the same time.
For a family of 4 white people: prepare at least 3 tortillas for each gourmand…
Making a total of 12 fried tortillas.
Creating the “American Taco – Circa 1959”:
Take a fried tortilla shell and fill the bottom third of it with “ground round”.
Then take the La Victoria Sauce and carefully pour two tablespoons over the meat.
Now add snippets of cheese, tomato, green onions and cilantro.
Add another tablespoon of La Victoria Sauce over all the snippets.
Finally, sprinkle chopped lettuce over the sauce.
Serve with the Chile beans on the side.
You have now died and gone to “Taco Heaven.”