Mexican Taco, Wrapped in a Paradox of its Time

Who doesn’t like tacos? For many of us who do, taco Tuesday has become a regular date night for the family, friends, and co-workers or even for couples who like to enjoy a buffet of tacos in a taco bar.


Taco is usually consists of soft or crunchy folded tortilla filled with choice of seasoned meat and freshly cut vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and onions with toppings like shredded cheese or sour cream or both. This is a very versatile meal so other veggies can be added too like beans, avocado or guacamole, corn, green peppers, or sliced olives.

But do we know the tacos that we all know today are already the American version? They are tacos on American terms?


We love to eat tacos. We talk about how we love this food and created so many versions of the dish such as taco salad, taco burrito, taco casserole, breakfast taco, taco pasta salad, chicken taco, and others alike.

However, there is one side to the tacos that we seldom talk about or maybe don’t want to talk about – how about the heritage and the people who brought this food into the American tables? Seemingly, it’s not too “safe” to talk about them.
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Beef Nilaga (Boiled Beef Soup)

This is how I would celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day this year. Instead of going for Corned Beef and Cabbage boiled dinner, I’d go for Filipino-style boiled beef soup which we call Nilaga. This is a very similar clear broth dish in terms of ingredients and cooking style.


This is the supreme comfort food in the Philippines. It is served all year round even on a hot summer day. Unlike the Irish corned beef and cabbage, Nilaga doesn’t usually include carrots but may sometimes include string beans or sweet corn roundels, if corn is in season. Bokchoy, Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage could be used as well instead of head of cabbage.  As for the meat, Filipinos usually use beef brisket, shank or tendons. Often, pork ribs and pork belly are also used as cheaper substitutes.

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Wisconsin Cheese Curd Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

savorysweetWisconsin Specials
Besides Badgers and Green Bay Packers, cheese is Wisconsin’s next great pride. And only in Wisconsin where you can find deep-fried cheese curds in almost all sports bar in any town and local fast-food restaurants such as Culvers. They are even served at Mcdonald’s in most of its Wisconsin locations and also available at some A&W and Dairy Queen locations in the state.


What are cheese curds made of?

Cheese curds are product of cheese making process. Before cheese are formed into blocks or wheels and aged, they start out as curds. Fresh cheese curds have a slightly rubbery texture and squeak when eaten. Hence, they are often known here in the Midwest as squeaky cheese. They squeak because the elastic protein strands in cheese curds rub against the enamel of the teeth and create the squeak.

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Penne Pasta with Creamy Beef and Mushroom Sauce

This is another go-to dish which only takes less than half-an-hour to make. Yet, it won’t taste like a dish-in-a-rush. Believe me, I made few of those and regretted that if I had given it more time and respected the process it would have tasted better. But this recipe isn’t one of those.


I always keep in my cupboard few cans of cream of mushroom or chicken or celery soup for days like this that I don’t have much time to make it from scratch. I’m glad that nowadays these cream soups also come in low-sodium varieties.


For healthier option, you can get the ground beef on a ratio of 80%-20% or even 93%-7% lean vs. fat content. Also, you can choose to use gluten-free pasta or whole-wheat pasta to suit your diet. To substitute the cream, a mixture of cottage cheese (1 cup) and skim milk (1 cup) can be used; or a mixture of melted butter and skim milk with 1 cup each.

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Meatloaf w/ Hard Boiled Eggs

The nice thing about meatloaf is there’s no right or wrong way of doing it. It suits everyone’s taste if we want it sweeter or spicy hot. It suits our style if we’re a red or white meat person or a combination of pork and beef or chicken and pork or whatever. And above all it suits our imagination as to what vegetables to put in, sky is our limit.

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