Mexicali Blues

  • November 1, 2014

In many ways, the sound of silence can be most rewarding whilst at the dinner table. A once chatty group, a veritable snowball of conversation, growing in size (and volume) as each new topic or joke or story is added to the mix, is now silenced by a strange and overwhelming force. Dinner has been served and we’ve all shut up. I know tonight’s offering is especially hitting the spot as myself and my dinner mates have failed to utter a single word since the plates hit the table.

What a welcome relief this silence truly is. It’s been a hard week. We’ve all come to this table hoping that a little conversation and chow might begin to restore what the week has taken from us. Our health is generally good, our jobs are more or less secure, our homes are lit and warm and safe. There is little for us to complain about, really, but there is a general feeling in the room that a hug, or a beer, or a smoke, might be appreciated at this moment.

You know the feeling. You’ve had the day where you stray deep down into the rabbit hole of your mind. The dark, weird place to which we go that, without a solid dose of distraction, we may never return. Tonight, our relief comes in the form of good ol Taco Night. Are you still fuming from that crappy email your unrealistic and demanding client sent you? Have some crispy tortilla chips dunked into some fresh pico de gallo and go ahead and delete the email drafts you’ve been daring yourself to send all afternoon. Oh, is that sideways comment from your passive aggressive coworker slowly eating away at your soul? Why not roll up a delicious burrito and stress eat away the sticky notes, soap boxes and finger pointing Work You had to endure.

The truth is, we all have things that happen to us on a daily basis that drive us nuts or wear us down. While I know I will get some love from Captain Obvious for that enlightened observation, I think I have unlocked the secret to treating the doldrums of cubical stress disorder: eat more tacos. Scientists (me) have proven through extensive research (me binge eating regularly) that eating tacos on a regular basis has shown marked improvements to your general mood, metabolism and libido and they have published their findings in renowned peer-reviewed journals (this blog) available to the general public.

Now that we’ve covered the inarguable facts, let me make one more suggestion: eat more tacos with friends or loved ones. In my life, I do not eat enough meals where my focus is only on the person and on the plate in front of me. Oftentimes, we’ll grab a quick bite in between work and whatever we have going on later that evening. Other times, we’ll space out in front of the TV and eat take out. When I was growing up, my parents put a lot of importance on eating together as a family every night. Even though sometimes I really hated it, the older I get the more I can appreciate the simple wisdom of making sure that we all shared at least one meal a day together.

We are innately social beings. Even the most shy and introverted of us stand to gain from some sort of human interaction on a daily basis. We need to vent, to share news of the day, to crack jokes and to build ourselves up. We need to relate. Being a part of a community, however big or small, is also essential to balancing out the Id, the Ego and the Ass that live inside all of us. Setting aside a time each day to be together, and to make sure that we tune out everything else so that we can give each other the support and attention we need, is the best one thing any of us can strive to do everyday. Togetherness breeds gratitude, gratitude fosters happiness, and happiness is sustained by eating tacos. I guess it is pretty simple after all. Therefore, in my best estimation, the recipes below are sure to produce a crowd of appreciative jolliness. And a meal for six.

Stewed Mexicali Chicken

Mexicali ChickenBored of ground beef tacos with prepackaged taco mix? Me too! Meet my good pal Mexicali Stewed Chicken. While this recipe takes considerably longer to cook than your standard ground chuck, the pay off is beyond worth it. Plentiful tender meat infused to the core with cumin and pepper flavors is the reward for your patience. Turn your next burrito up to ¡once! with this tasty recipe.
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Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

CIilantro Lime Sour Cream 2 WebIn many cuisines, dairy is used to the balance out the heat and high spice in zestier dishes and this is especially true in Mexican and Indian cuisine with the use of sour scream and yogurt. This is certainly an important role, but I ask: why can’t it be a multitasker? The citrusy punch of the lime zest and herbaceous twang of the cilantro make this sour cream a flavorful jack of all trades for your next taco night.
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Pice de Gallo

Pico de GalloThis is a classic recipe for Pico de Gallo. No frills, no mystery ingredients, no nonsense – just bright, clean, summery flavors that go great with your favorite chips and tacos. If you’re feeling adventurous, this salsa goes great on salads and even on your morning eggs. You can go with the classic small dice on the veggies or make your life simpler and use a food processor – either way, enjoy the spoils of summer with this classic recipe!
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2 Replies to "Mexicali Blues"

  • Katie Gravy
    February 8, 2015 (11:04 pm)

    This entry had me like silence during taco night. Definitely resonates. I was chuckling and appreciating life. Totally agree with your idea about having dinner at the dinner table, instead of in front of the TV/on the go. Too often, our dinner table has become our “office” –> That is actually where I am currently sitting, typing this response.

    Wise words, despite their lack of novelty. (Wisdom isn’t really a novel endeavor, anyway.) Captain Obvious can go eff off.


    • Forrest
      February 9, 2015 (6:41 pm)

      Thanks Gravy! While re-runs of Seinfeld are an ideal pairing to many cuisines, there is something pretty awesome about a good ol fashioned “family dinner” at the table. And totally agreed about the Captain, that guy…