In honor of this Mexican holiday, Mama cooked up a Mexican-inspired dinner. We had an appetizer of plantain chips and mojitos (Papa made me a special one with orange juice). Then Mama made corn pudding muffins, rice with black-eyed peas, and tacos. I helped put the tortillas in the pan to heat them up, and I grated some of the cheese. Mama said I had to be careful with the box grater, or I could cut myself. “Like a paper cut,” I said. “Exactly,” she said.
Mama wanted me to write about taco seasoning because making it is just about as easy as opening a packet—only not nearly as bad for you. You can control how much salt goes into it, and you know how fresh your spices are, so there are no preservatives cluttering it up. I like to smell the spices when Mama opens them, and I’m getting pretty good at naming a lot of them. Mama notes that you can use just a few spices and adjust them to your preference, but here is what she used:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
bunch of grinds of black pepper
Mix it all together then stir into ground beef (or soy crumbles, in Mama’s case) as it’s cooking. This amount is suitable for 1 pound of beef and will make it spicy but not overbearing.
Even though I sort of deconstructed my taco (it had cheese and avocado on it), I did sample pretty much everything on my plate. And Mama said that was bueno.