Thursday, August 9, 2007


Tacos are the ultimate mothership meal, and the easiest one to understand. You put out some taco shells, and a mess of stuff. Every one gets a plate, and a taco. Let the stuffing begin.

For a long time tacos meant, to me, supermarket ground beef and those little MSG flavor packets that came in the El Paso taco family dinner packet. So it wasn't until my son was a preschooler that I made tacos, my way. I was amazed to watch my little four-year-old, one of the pickiest eaters known to civilization, systematically stuff his taco with almost every item of food I'd put out. Since then tacos have become a regular meal in our family. Okay, so my daughter still does not like tacos; she just eats the filling. The beauty of the Mothership Meal: that's okay.

Here are some of the things we use:

The Mothership: Taco shells (or soft whole-grain tortillas)

The Satellite Saucers:

Chicken or steak, cut into cubes. (Best if freshly grilled and diced. But no complaints if leftovers are used)
Grated cheese (cheddar, jack or queso fresco)
Diced tomatoes and onions tossed with corn, cilantro, lime juice and a dash of olive oil
Sliced radishes
Shredded lettuce
Hot sauce
Any other vegetables on hand that might be munched on by small children

1 clove garlic
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1 avocado
1/2 tomato, finely diced

Use a mortar and pestle, if you have one, to pound the garlic and the salt. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle, chop the garlic finely, then use the flat side of the knife blade to smush the garlic into a paste. Add the lime and let sit for a few minutes; the lime will 'cook' the garlic. Add the avocado and mash with the pestle, or a fork, until not quite smooth. (Never use a food processor! And never refrigerate guacamole. Sorry, but you must eat it all the night you make it.) Add diced tomatoes and serve immediately.

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