A friend alerted me to this blog post on Slate by L. V. Anderson – Now, admittedly, I’ve not had a chance to read the whole piece or the book, but trust me, I will and so should y’all. By the way, Texas Monthly is a great magazine, filled with wonderful words and pictures, so check it out.
Anyway, what got her, (And me), was the statement within the post’s title indicating that breakfast tacos were once considered shameful. The heart of that matter is both more and less than it sounds; the reference goes back to the point in time where white Texans looked down on all things Mexican, a dark and tragic point in that great state’s past. Now, of course, everyone eats tacos and more importantly, Tejanos are respected and prominant members of every facet of Texas life; that’s absolutely as it should be, as far as I’m concerned.
That said, what actually bothered me the most was a statement from the blog. In particular, Anderson notes that, “Breakfast tacos are a peculiar culinary phenomenon. Despite being pretty much universally popular in Central Texas, and despite comprising accessible American ingredients like bacon and eggs (and despite being delicious), they still haven’t found much of a following beyond Texas’ borders.” Now that’s a problem, actually, for a couple of reasons.
First off, it leaves the impression that Mexican food beyond maybe huevos rancheros ain’t what’s for breakfast, and that’s just wrong. Secondly, it implies that breakfast tacos are just a tortilla filled with what we gringos eat for breakfast anyway, and that’s completely wrong!
One of the things I miss most dearly about living in Texas is real breakfast tacos. These are, in fact, the taco in its purest form. The ones I love come from little hole-in-the-wall joints or street carts and remind me of what I’ve actually found down in Mexico.
Picture little, freshly made corn tortillas, filled with slow roasted pork and garnished with a little fresh cilantro and a few lime wedges – Now that’s a breakfast taco! potatoes sauteed in butter with onions and garlic, sprinkled with a little fresh queso blanco. Shredded chicken with fresh jalapeno slices and more lime – Those are breakfast tacos. Simple, delicious food made with care and done right. No fancy stuff, just good, honest fare to get you through the morning until lunch.
Compare those to pancakes or a nasty bowl of cereal… Which sounds healthier to you?
If you’re not quite ready for the Big Leap, do up a middle ground; scramble some eggs, fry and then crumble some bacon. Then do up little bowls of fresh tomato, onion, cilantro, cheese, jalapeños, and some fresh salsa. Load up either flour or corn tortillas that are as fresh as you can find them, or better yet, whip up a batch yourself, (you’ll find tried and true recipes for both right here). Let your crew build themselves one or two of those with whatever they like and see if it doesn’t feel lighter and healthier to y’all. Me, I can’t hardly imagine breakfast without veggies; maybe we all could use a bit more of that kinda weird, huh?
My friend Christy had it exactly right when she noted that “Around here, we like our tacos any time of the day,” and they live in northern Minnesota. It’s high time the breakfast taco revolution steamrolled right over this wonderful country of ours, so get up mañanita, get into the kitchen, and get to work! Next thing you know, you’ll be whipping up your own queso fresco!