(Becky, the Butter Lovin’ Mama)
“Taste memory” occurs when you take a bite of a food that transports you instantly to a time and place from your past. The experience can be positive or negative, depending on the memory around it.
My husband cannot abide green beans. He picked beans in the summer like every good boy growing up in Oregon, then he spent his spent late teens working at a green bean cannery. You know those clinics where they make you smoke cigarettes until you are sick as a dog so you’ll never smoke again? Well, Greg went through the same sort of green bean aversion training. To this day he will not eat, or even smoke, a green bean without protest.
On the other hand he adores blueberries. Never tires of them. As it turns out, his mother-in-law used to bake a special blueberry pie just for him. Blueberries are forever wrapped with the message that “somebody thinks I’m special.”
One of my favorite food memories as girl was a now 50-year-old restaurant in Arlington,Texas called The Candlelite Inn. (I understand it recently closed but new ownership plans to resurrect it.) It was a curious place, an Italian-themed eatery with red-checked tablecloths that was somehow known for its amazing Mexican food. Thinking back on it now, that seems odd, but at the time it just was what it was. We went to the Italian joint to eat great Mexican fare.
This photo of Candlelite Inn is courtesy of TripAdvisor
On special occasions we kids got to choose a restaurant to eat at, and if given my choice of where to go out for my birthday, I picked The Candlelite Inn. I always ordered their famous guacamole tacos. (A friend reminded me today that they served their tortilla chips with a big ball of butter! Paula Deen would have been proud.)
For some reason I thought about those tacos the other day, and could somehow remember the exact taste of the guacamole even though it has been at least twenty-five years since I’ve tasted them. Suddenly I knew exactly what was in that guac that made it taste so amazing. The secret ingredient was Italian dressing! (Apparently the chefs here were creating Italian-Tex Mex “fusion” before ethnic fusion cooking was cool.) The tacos were filled at least half way with guacamole and for someone who loves avocados as much as I do, this was bliss.
I made my own version of Candlelight Inn tacos this week and at first crunchy creamy bite, I was transported back to a darkened red and white checked table in Arlington,Texas, my family around me laughing and celebrating by the glow of …yes.. candlelight. Since I’m trying to cut back on meat and expand the veggies and fiber, the filling is made from half ground beef, half beans with my favorite “Becky BBQ Style” seasoning.
What are some of your favorite Taste Memories?
12 corn taco shells, warmed according to package directions
1 lb ground beef
1 can chili beans, drained (I like an organic three bean combination as pictured below)
1/2 c. picante sauce or salsa
1/2 c. bbq sauce
1 t. cumin
1 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. grill seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste)
Guacamole from recipe below
½ cup grated cheese
1 tomato, slice in twelve pieces
In a skillet, brown the beef and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until flavors have mixed and the sauce has thickened.
Fill taco shells ½ way full with bean/meat mixture and ½ with guacamole from recipe below. Sprinkle with little grated cheese and top with slice of tomato.
Variation: For Vegan Version, omit beef and use extra can of drained beans or crumbled meat substitute instead. Skip cheese or use vegan cheese substitute.
Meat Lovers: You can add more ground beef and skip the beans!
“Candlelight Inn” Memories Guacamole
3 ripe avocados, mashed
1 clove garlic, minced
½ fresh lime juice (1 Tablespoon juice)
1 t. sugar
1/3 cup Italian dressing (I love Olive Garden’s new bottled dressing)
1/2 t salt (or to taste)
Peel and mash the avocados. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue mashing and mixing to desired consistency.
Storing Hint: Put leftover guac in a sandwich bag, push out as much air as you can. It won’t turn brown! Then the next time you use it, just snip a corner of the bag and squeeze out what you need.
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
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The Title: BBQ Guacamole Tacos
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