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Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:55 am

Jenise wrote:
not much to do in these parts [heaviest of sighs].

Gotcha. That two years I spent in Bakersfield (Taft, actually--triple UGH) was the longest decade of my life. And so how come you to be there, may I ask?

Well...the short story is I needed to find a teaching job. They were closing high schools in Orange County so I dusted off my resume and headed to all points North. The San Joaquin Valley is/was a growing area and I got hired.

My wife and I figured we'd stay here for a couple years then move on....that was 24 years ago. It's a good place to raise kids and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are just right there [we are a hiking, camping, skiing family] so we stuck around. When the air is clear [which is more and more rare these days] we have an expansive view of the Sierras from pretty much anywhere in town.

But guess what? Not two weeks after I had signed my contract, I got a letter from Santa Cruz HS to come work for them. Oh well...wasn't meant to be, I suppose.

The good news is San Francisco is 4 hours to the North, the Central Coast Wine Region is 2 hours to the West, OC/LaLa Land is 3 1/2 hours to the South and most ski areas are 2-4 hours to the East and Northeast. So, we manage :)
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David T


Cellar rat




Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:51 pm

Re: Mexican food definitions

by David T » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:21 am

I read the article and I don't get the fuss. I grew up in San Diego, and I cook Mexican food weekly, and while I wouldn't have written the same article word-for-word, it seems like a decent column to me. Bittman's point is to demystify tacos -- to explain that there's no particular filling that HAS to go into them, to explain the basic idea behind a taco, so that people can go to town and invent their own, use ingredients on hand, etc. Would it have been better in a short NYT column to itemize a specific list of traditional tacos, of the sort that's emerging in this thread? To focus on a specific recipe for tacos? I don't think so.

If it were me writing the column, I would have left out the one parenthetical sentence about burritos, tostadas, etc., that Jenise focuses on. (But who here has never made a comment about how a lot of different mexican dishes -- at least the sort of Americanized and casual mexican food we're talking about here -- are pretty close to the same stuff wrapped, or not wrapped, in different tortillas; sauced or not, dropped in a deep-fryer or not, etc.?) In any case, he does state very clearly in the column that real tacos are about corn tortillas.

I've never understood the foodie displeasure with Bittman. He's writing for a different audience, and I think he does a pretty good job of it, with a heavy emphasis on understanding ingredients, techniques, and basic concepts.

Cheers, David

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