I had my youngest granddaughter here for the weekend as you know and one of the things she wanted to do was learn to make tacos. Tacos are one of her favorite foods. In Texas, with her dad and step-mom Gloria - she has experienced true tacos! A favorite of all is Gloria's "breakfast tacos". Perfectly fried diced potatoes with scrambled eggs and put in a tortilla. Yummo!!
So I wasn't surprised that Elaine wanted to learn to make tacos. We made Kansas tacos. You know the hamburger, seasoning, cheese, onions, salsa, lettuce in hard shells or soft tortillas. Not like the authentic Mexican food we have experienced in South Texas. And actually I thought well how much of a cooking lesson will this be - just browning hamburger . . .
Then I went into teacher mode:
Wash your hands.
Choose a skillet - non stick or stainless - I have both and the right size skillet
for the job was the stainless. So - I explained the differences and we used a little
oil in the pan to brown the beef. Then came opening the hamburger package and
how to handle raw meat. Explaining about bacteria in uncooked meat and after
getting it in the pan - how to clean up anything the meat touched.
For a 10 year old with a hot stove and a little hot oil I felt the need to explain how
to hold onto and stabilize the skillet with one hand while browning the meat and turning
it with the other hand.
So hamburger is browning. That's it.
No - I explained, part of cooking is then preparing the rest of the ingredients while
parts are cooking. So we got out the lettuce (already shredded in the bag), onion, cheese,
homemade (Aunt Tami's) salsa, sour cream, and the shells.
Elaine asked if we could heat the shells in the oven so we prepared that and continued
to work with the browning meat. A few times hamburger was flying across the stove top
because for a petite 10 year old - a heavy stainless skillet is quite a bit to manhandle!!
During this process it struck me - blog idea - - - making tacos - - - cooking a meal - - -
is about much more than just the finished product! Things started coming to my mind
that my mom taught me all through my life - and the things I learned in Home-Ec - and
all the hints and ideas and tips I have picked up from the Food Channel!!
From picking the right skillet - to knowing what temperature to have the burner - to turning
it down at the right time - to setting oven temperature - to draining grease - to seasoning
meat - to prep work - to use of pot holders - to getting plates and forks - - - and on top of all
getting everything done at the same time and ready to serve!
Soon we called Grandpa to come eat and we ate and went on a bike ride - who needs to do dishes??