Taco Crisis

There has been a lot of news coverage lately about identity conflict.

I have decided that if loving tacos is any indication, 
then I have a serious identity conflict.

 In North Dakota, 
I almost had up the nerve to defy my husbands orders to not stop at the taco bus
 (yes, a big yellow school bus with a hand painted "TACO" sign),
 when it caught fire and burned. 

The locals recommend the Mexican Food Restaurant in Williston, 
but I usually say that Texans don't eat Mexican food north of Amarillo.

 However, one day we saw a hand painted sign from down the street. 
It just said,


I stuck my head in the door, did the sniff test, then surveyed the non-gringo clientele.
 The owner said he was from Mexico and that he makes street tacos.

I love tacos -
corn tortilla, shredded beef, chicken, pork, or fish 
with guacamole, lettuce, fresh salsa, cilantro, and a little lime.
I luuuuuv tacos
and I speak enough Spanglish to get me in trouble.

My earliest memories of tacos were from Carlos' Little Mexico
 in my hometown Texas.

Then my mama's homemade tacos were next.
 Her recipe was delish:
one pound of browned ground beef
one can of Wolf Brand Chili
served in 
corn tortillas dipped in hot Crisco.

The blazing orange grease dripped off our elbows when we ate them.
Oh, they were good.
Of course there's not enough Rolaids in the state of Texas to get me to eat one now.

My next memory was hanging out in the chinaberry tree
 with Jimmy, the neighbor kid.  
The tree was right beside our farm workers' temporary hacienda behind my Daddy's shop. 
 I can almost still smell the frijoles, lard, tortillas, and kerosene cook stove.  
They came from Mexico legally to move irrigation pipe, hoe weeds, and pick cotton. 

This is Shorty, who was our trusted favorite playing with me. 
I have curlers in my hair - that means it was Saturday. 
We always washed and curled our hair on Saturday.
I wish I still had that car.

Years later, Shorty tried to come back to us,
 but was turned away at the border because he had T.B. (tuberculosis). 
My how things have changed at the border.

On our little 19 day trip through the Pacific Northwest, 
we came through a little town in Idaho that had a taco wagon on every corner.

We imagined and theorized for an hour about how they all got there. 
We decided they must have come to work in the potato fields,
 but found tacos to be more lucrative.
Who knows?

Somehow menus written in Spanish give taco wagons the most credibility.

I have tried to perfect my own Mexican food cooking skills during my stay in North Dakota
 and have come up with the best 
Taco Seasoning recipe:

1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1/4 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper

Of course, I make it by the quart.

I love tacos.

If I have an identity conflict, 
then I must identify as 

Me encantan los tacos!


Coffee Pot Chronicles

It all started with an idea - an idea that we should travel light in the travel trailer. For morning coffee, we only packed coffee singles - little one cup coffee bags you make with boiling water. However, the resident coffee drinker did not love coffee singles, so he decided to shop for a vintage percolator that could be used in the trailer or on a campfire. He found the perfect twenty cup pot with beautiful brass handles at a flea market just across the line into Northern Idaho. Perfect. 

It was our anniversary during this trip. Ours and Starbucks. We both started this journey in 1971.

Coffee Drinker grabbed a bag of coffee at a neighborhood grocery store in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, only to find that it was actually a bag of coffee beans. Coffee beans just do not make good coffee. The next day he bought fresh ground coffee at a Trader Joe's in Spokane, Washington, but he still had the bag of beans waiting in the trailer.

Speaking of beans, did you know that the first Starbucks only sold roasted coffee beans? The only brewed coffee in the beginning was free samples.

In Seattle, around the corner from the first Starbucks, he dove into a gourmet cooking store to pick up a grinder, but he got a bad case of sticker shock and left empty handed. Then the hunt was on for a thrift store coffee grinder and a travel mug, because the twenty cup percolator won't perc with a small amount of water and Coffee Drinker needed to do something with the daily surplus of java.

There are Starbucks on just about every corner in Seattle - 424 to be exact. That is about one for every 1500 people.  Midland, Texas has one Starbucks for every 5,000 people.

He found the travel mug at Port Angeles, a seaside town in Northwest Washington. One problem is solved.

Sea themed Starbucks was named after the chief-mate on the Pequod from Moby-Dick. The mermaid on the logo is a siren, a Greek mythology creature who lured sailors to destruction by the sweetness of her song.

The vintage, still in the box, coffee grinder was waiting for him in a South Bend, Washington thrift store.  So now Coffee Drinker is a happy camper, grinding his morning coffee and taking the extra brew on the road with him in his new old travel mug.

Then he found the cutest ever one cup percolator at an antique store in a cute little town in Oregon. Cute. Cute. Cute. One cup. ONE tiny cute cup. 

Starbucks original owners sold Starbucks in 1987 and focused on Peet's Coffee, which they had purchased in 1983. Peet's market is about 2% of Starbucks.

One cup of coffee from the cute new percolator just wasn't enough caffeine for Coffee Drinker.  All he wanted was an old garage sale percolator for a quarter. That's all.

He found it at Twin Falls, Idaho! Yay! But wait! A vital inside part was missing! 

My disappointed, frazzled coffee drinker stepped inside the cooking store next door to the thrift store and there it was....a nine cup percolator - brand new, in the box, and full list price. Yep, you guessed it. He bought it. Brand spanking new.
So now he had a beautiful vintage twenty cup percolator that was TOO BIG,

a cute, cute one cup vintage percolator that was too little,

and a brand spanking new nine cup percolator that was just right!

There are over 21,000 Starbucks in the world. There are 12 Starbucks in North Dakota.

Then, (drumroll) at a yard sale in Billings, Montana, Coffee Drinker found what he had driven 3,000 miles looking for - a vintage nine cup percolator for a quarter - with all its parts! There was great rejoicing at the yard sale! You would have thought the angels were singing. There it was - for a quarter - twenty-five cents.

Then, when we pulled back into Peaceful Valley, North Dakota the third nine cup pot was at a neighbor's garage sale just waiting of us.

And that, my friend, is what it takes to get a perfectly, successfully, brewed cup of coffee

 and start an amazing coffee pot collection.

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