Essay About Mexican Food

In our era of war, xenophobia, and misunderstanding, we needed more sharing, cross-culturation, and compassion, and we needed reminders that we were more alike than different. Maybe it would inspire people in Osaka, Kyoto, and further afield to start their own taquerias. Although I hoped readers would enjoy cooking the dishes in each issue, I wanted to encourage people to go further: take the recipes and modify them.wasn’t meant to impose my way of life on anyone or dilute Japan’s unique culture. Add their own twist ─ some nori, some matcha, maybe dashi or miso — and transform them into something uniquely Japanese.When readers weren’t carrying it around town in their bags or using it in their kitchen, they could display Taco Wagon on their bookshelf with their magazines and novels. I wanted to offer this magazine as a way to share my gratitude with them and to make new friends. Even when we lacked a common language, we would always have food, music, and laughter.

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He sent photos of his daughter, and I sent photos of Rebekah and I hiking, walking our dog, and dressed up as Kurt and Courtney Cobain for Halloween. One day I mentioned tacos and sent him a picture of me eating some carne asada. (I know tacobell is not so good one hahahaahaa)” I offered to send him a recipe. Why just visit Japan, I figured, when I could there?

“The whole world must taste them,” I said, dramatically, “just like the whole world must taste 肉じゃが.” “I surprised you use letter of Japanese in your email,” Daisuke said. LOL” Food reminds me of people, and I see reminders all over my city: stylish white-guy ramen restaurants; donburi food carts; inexpensive sushi-go-rounds. It was brash, impractical and never going to happen.

But the seed was planted: There was an enormous, untapped economic and cultural opportunity to serve authentic, delicious Mexican food in an enchanting place that had little of it.

There were crazier ideas — not that I was pursuing those either, but it felt good knowing I wasn’t the craziest of the crazy. In the midst of handmade onigiri vendors, donburi chains, and unagi restaurants, why not sell street tacos?

I wanted to taste their creations and share them on the magazine’s website. “Mexican food” is the vague umbrella term we use for food originally cooked in different parts of Mexico, which is an enormous, diverse country not unlike India.

But when you’re eating it in Japan, as told by a white guy/gaijin/gringo who grew up in Arizona, cultural distinctions mattered less.

Wandering around Tokyo’s Shinjuku district alone one winter, on a research trip, I found a taco joint. “Of course you found a taco joint,” my wife Rebekah said.

“You always do.” I was raised in the Arizona desert, eating tacos, burritos, and enchiladas every week.

And of course, it would have a sampling of sauces: green jalapeño, red guajillo, and pico de gallo. I’d be selling food from one of the street stalls the Japanese call a yatai, getting to know regular customers over time, getting to know the regular smells and sounds and beat of Kyoto’s daily routine, and eventually I’d invite certain regular customers over to my apartment to share dinner and listen to music, maybe sing and play guitar, all while bowing as I handed food over my cart’s narrow counter and our fingers brushed against each other. I couldn’t manage a business, and my life was firmly established in Oregon. When you weren’t carrying it around or using it in the kitchen, you could put it on your shelf with your books. The people I met during my time in Japan extended such warmth and hospitality that I wanted to return the favor.

In lieu of a restaurant, I dreamed up something equally impractical: a magazine for Japanese people who dig Mexican food and have limited access to it. And if you spilled sauce on the cover, the paper would be treated with a glossy coating so you could wipe it off. And it would be a single annual issue, more a book than a zine, though it would have a zine’s dimensions — about the size of a DMV study manual — and a book’s production qualities. I also selfishly wanted a way to transport myself back to Japan in my mind, since I couldn’t afford to return yet in reality, and a magazine that sucked all my time and attention would do just that.


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