Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the ride

One of my earliest memories of visiting our local theme park (Canada's Wonderland), oddly enough, was eating a taco.  I'm sure I've eaten tacos before, but there was something about this particular one that made it memorable.  It was the beginning of summer, and with all the excitement of this brand new theme park (it had just opened in May of that year), the smells of popcorn, corn dogs and sweet soda pop, added with the feeling of pure exhilaration of being somewhere new, made this taco seem like the best thing I've ever eaten.  Or maybe it was also the year I was actually tall enough...just past that little "height line" that indicated that I was big enough to go on the "big" kid rides. That this was the first of many "big" rides that I would conquer in my life.

It's amazing how the human body works and how our senses are trained at such a young age to store little memories...little clues stored away in the back of our minds.  And when the grown up version of us needs to remember that moment in time when things were so much simpler and innocent, a heavenly scent of something so very specific to that memory does just that...releases the clues out of storage, and transports you back in time.

Many years later, I can still remember where I was standing while I consumed this crispy meat filled delight.  And to this day, whenever I eat (or smell) a taco, I can still hear the clanking of the wheels on the steel as I gripped the handlebars tightly as the car slowly approaching it's peak.  I remember the feeling of the wind gusting in my hair as the coaster rolled downwards.  I was a little scared...but at the same time, I also felt free.

As the temperature warms and the grass starts to grow, the smells of the freshly cut lawn now evokes that feeling that summer is almost here.  That soon, we will be storing our backpacks away, grabbing our swimsuits or sun hats, and heading out the door for a new adventure for the day.

And although my kids have already experienced some "big kid rides" (at Disney), I'm hoping this summer, my kids can visit Canada's Wonderland for their first time.  Now that both of them are just the right height, they too can enjoy some of the many "big" kid rides that I enjoyed.  And maybe that taco stand is still there...who knows.  But whatever we do, see or eat, I hope they continue to "conquer" the roller coasters of life...

...and enjoy the ride.

Pantry Tacos
(serves 4)

I usually don't like all the MSG in taco seasoning, so I buy just the taco shells and use the ingredients in my pantry to make the "sauce" for the meat.  

  • 10 taco shells
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I like the organic ground seems less greasy).
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. italian seasoning
  • 1 can of tomato paste (156ml)
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded old cheddar (to garnish)
  • Sour Cream (optional, to garnish)
  • Avocado (optional, to garnish)
  • Brown the ground beef in a saute pan or cast iron skillet until almost cooked through.
  • Add onions, garlic, and italian seasoning, and cook until the beef is cooked and onion is soft.
  • Add the tomato paste then the plum tomatoes.
  • Let simmer until the tomato paste becomes thick and saucy.
  • Follow instructions on heating taco shells.
  • Add the beef and garnish as desired.

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