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The Joy of Tacos

June 23, 2010

Some foods are simply happy foods. You know exactly what I mean. It is possible to munch your way through a sandwich or a piece or roasted chicken or some sauteed kale, solemnly pondering the tribulations of the day. But I dare you to feel morose or pensive while munching on a taco. It’s difficult.

SO, back to my broken foot and the delightful meals I have had prepared for me thus far, whilst I am unable to man the stove in any serious capacity. This time it was my darling friend Abby who came over to prepare her specialty: Lidia’s tacos.

Now that, friends, is a taco.

Lidia was Abby’s childhood babysitter, and was from Buenos Aires. Before Lidia returned home Abby had the presence of mind to ask Lidia for the taco recipe, and has spent the ensuing years recreating one of the best foods of her childhood. All of the Schneidermans are a bit jealous that Abby can make Lidia’s tacos. I can tell you that everyone in my family thought Abby hit one out of the park. She used chopped chicken, and the seasonings were lots of sauteed garlic and chopped onion, cumin, paprika, and —  really interestingly — a marinade of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce for the chicken. They filling was flavorful, a little bit wet, and absolutely amazing. I ate the rest of the chicken the next day propped up on my crutches in front of the fridge. Even then I felt happy.

I was pretty curious about the soy sauce and the teriyaki, which I have never encountered in my years of cooking my way through various taco fillings. And the paprika was also a surprising ingredient, especially given the Asian twist going on.  Was this a traditional Argentinean blend of seasonings, and I had just never heard of it?

It turns out, no, this was simply one woman’s brilliant melting pot kind of taco recipe, and she just happened to be from Argentina. However, soy sauce does appear in some more traditional south-of-the-border recipes, at least in modern day versions. There’s a splash of it in Deborah Schneider’s Carne Asada Taco Vampiros (what a name!), Bill and Cheryl Jamison use it in their marinade for Sante Fe carnitas (which is of course slightly north of the border, but we’re going to count it for this purpose).

Lidia on a recent birthday.

I think I will get to meet Lidia when she comes to visit in the fall, and if I’m lucky I’ll get to watch her in action, and pick up a few more of her inventive and delicious ideas.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2010 3:31 pm

    Ahh, such a tease, no recipe! Soy sauce is in several Peruvian recipes, I think.

  2. June 29, 2010 2:40 am

    Love a good Taco, enjoyed your writing and wish I had Lidia as my neighbour. Lucky you.
    Happy Cooking, I look forward to your next blog.
    Cheers Anna

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