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A brief history of tuna taco time

26 Mar

Canned Tuna fish: love or hate her she’s here to stay. Delicioso dinosaur: aqui ahora antes us y will be despues. And like the very air we share, tunafish has touched all of our tongues if not at least our nostrils – whether we asked for it or no – as this white and gray matter Del mar has shapeshifted to round out dishes as diverse as a dilettante Italian white bean bruschetta topper or a down and dirty truck stop tuna fish salad wedge.
Serving as many culinary roles as Mc Donald’s sells hamburgers; a veritable Zelig de la lengua – like the Happy Meals of our youths and the custom Starbux beverage of today’s contemporary our lifestyle – this grave y feo pescado, like any web browser worth its gigabytes in NSA spyware serves as a history menu listing of our life and times. 
And sooooooo heeeeeeereeeee’s mine:
A Brief Personal History of Tuna Time, if you will and I don’t mind if I do – replayed in the voice of Steven Hawking:
1970 – nature vs nurture vs nutrition
Hola first forkful of the family casserole: 

Tunanoodlepea, made by Mom.. A Miracle Whip based conglomerate, as essential a Az summer staple as air conditioning (with a side of salty plain potato chips, washed down con fruit punch), a source of comfort and controversy (See: Mayonnaise vs Miracle Whip epic rap battles) and anchor throughout the red ‘you are here’ dots mapping my peripatetic vida. 
Significant how? The binding genome for a family of four adopted kids.  
1980s- Soundeconomies

For those of us bypassed by the greed gene, this decade painted in hues of excess, pastel and acid wash – but for the saving graces of late punk rock and early Camper Van Beethoven – well it like totally kind of sucked. The currency plugged into my rebellious jukebox twernt coke nor junk bonds not sushi but canned tuna fish and cloves and nicked Buzzcocks tapes. A cupboard stocked with Bumble Bee meant an empty checking account and a menu rich in creative approaches to cooking with tuna tuna tuna: tuna helper, tuna Mac and cheese, tuna burgers, tuna melts, and gracias grande to you both Sassy Magazine and Sonic Youth for printing a glorious recipe I still punk rock today: tuna tacos.
Economics covered, onto the sonics…
How I survived the 80s has been noted and memorialized on or is it in this agui IFLAG by working getting fired then working again getting fired then rehired again and again by my dear, bittersweet late mother: sole proprietor of the award-winning Tempe,Az hoagie shop Bellyfillers. The lay-offs rained whenever Teen Anst got the better of me and I got snappy with either customers and/or the sole proprietor. 
And yeah, maybe I once got caught answering the phone ‘Bellykillers’ only because the caller just so happened to be the sole proprietor. Never, I repeat never I did I once taint – with or without my taint – even so much as a crumb served to our outstanding clientele. Making the best fucking food you ever tasted was a priori. Forcing you to listen to ‘Orgasm Addict’ (on cassette) at an ear-piercing pitch while you waited for TBFFYET, well, that may have accounted for one or two of the grievances passed on to the sole proprietor who passed on to me mi pink slips.
Diga me though, has not my 1981 pre-Pandora practice of playing pre-recorded music in a dining establishment so loud you couldn’t even hear yourself chew (and I could not hear your complaints about its volume) become the norm? Escuche: try whispering your order at any bourgeois burger joint or Starbucks. See what that gets ya.
One might have easily assayed Pete Townsed-sized hearing loss by stopping in Bellyfillers before the sole proprietor handed over the spatula to her 13 year old son or the award winning tuna fish salad supply needle neared ‘E’. 
Escuche: What the tuna salad recipe lacked in original ingredients – kind of like diction in IFLAG analogies – it made up with an invisible secret ingredient: sound. The tone deaf need not apply as my replacement. Each and every last employee (including my 10-year old sister who holds the silver medal in firings with 4) need pass tuna tuning training. A harmonious blended batch of canned tuna in water, chopped onions, relish and ahem – miracle whip, which we always referred to as mayo – had to achieve a certain pre-slosh splkurth but never so much as a slosh. Turning and folding and mixing each pungent batch with as delicate and deft a hand as that of a soufflé chef you’d think the greater concern be that it risked bruising the pescado all the while holding an ear tuned to each turn: Magic. Put a fork in as soon as it sounds as if recorded could easily pass for the foley effect of a zombies head being bashed in by a cricket wicket.
Nose Scientists press states that 87% of food & beverage taste comes not from brain IM from la lengua but invisibly via Smell. Escuche up ear scientists: what’s your cut? The ear scientists hypothesize music fires up more neurons at once than any other human activity. Then Check this hypothesis out for super size: If you mute the OST at say random sample say McChipolte, upon first bite into a burrito dragged through the jardin a brain freed from Adele’s undulations nourishment neurons will properly light up like a scoreboard, teeetimg to the rest of your gourd how aforeforaged burrito now sounds and tastes like a cilantro and lime perfumed Taco Bell special. (Hold the helping of hate on TB, my being both a fan and stockholder of their superior hot sauces)

The 90s: http://www.tuna.com
We’ll lets just leave what this might mean to your id.

The Aughts: the great recession-proof pescado.
Were it not for gratis elk and food stamps I’d have been reduced in both income and economic stature to have inhaled enough tuna To sport gills. More than Quite a few links down on the food chain did yo slip, noting a notable uptick in Starkist and Bumblebee stock, me. Notable new variations on this veritable steak of the starving masses: nada one.
2010 – present: a tuna melt Medicaid for the millennium.
Student loans and gainful employment were this blog’s roux, where lard is lord, carne king, queso Queen – is it obvious kids books influence? – pork prince, beans boss, eggs some superlative word starting with ‘e’, chile the caca, butter beatific along with all the other loyal servants of the Az-Mex empire gathered to feed mi estomago and fill mi Corazon. My Held Steady upright forages and ruminations ahora along with previously undocumented, at times messy yet never not ecstatic, weekly assignation with double Chicago cheeseburgers of every stripe have been a source of binary joy I made an ass out of u and med twert accessible sin Googling la palabra porn. Tambien, according to my previously private until aqui medical records this la Comida Del Santos spiked my previously held steady cholesterol content. Because I’ve yet to concoct an AzMex plata con oatmeal (oatmeal as to cholesterol as Sherrif Joe Arrapaio is to ‘Mexicans’) brings me back to Tuna
Lo-Cho Nuevo-Mexi-Talian Tuna Tacos
Listo?
Chop ½ cup onion

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Open and drain can-o-tuna

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Dollop-o-mayo

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Soy sauce splash

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Salt & Pepper & pinch-o-Mexican oregano

Stir & set aside

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Seed, stem & chop defrosted fresh roasted NM green chile approx 4 Big Jims (a small can of hatch will pass)
Pre-heat Oven: 425
Open pack small corn torts (El Milagro en Chicago)

Open Trader Joes tub-o-parmasean/Regiano/or any other dry/sharp Italian queso

Open/drain canned sliced black olives from California.

Layer on tort: tuna chile cheese – heat till bubbly and/or kitchen smells like Chinatown in July.
Cue up ‘Orgasm Addict”
Comer

Upon further review: Instant Replay = Game Over, World Series Over, Over-easy egg tops re-reviewed green chile fettuccine carbonara alfredo. Over.

3 Nov

What do movie sequels have in common with instant replays? 
The odds against me adding ‘really awesome TV watcher’ to my LinkedIn skill set seem greater than or equal to Hollywood sequels from the previous century dictating the outcome of the 2015 World Series: Cubs Win!?!?
  

The Game Changer Variable

BTTF2 scripted prior to the implementation of MLB’s NFL envy Instant Replay Review rule, or if not football then horse racing’s photo finish – yet another gambling-related boner; yer up DraftKings – on behalf of MLB’s Puritan brain trust.

  


Upon further review: Game Over

 All MLB outcomes – or in the parlance of my fellow Chicagoans: ‘BELCH’ – no longer rest in the hands, arms, legs, eyes, jockstraps, superstitions and mouths turgid with seeds, bubble gum and/or smokeless tobacco blessed by the baseball gods: Nada, Nope, Nein, Nyet. 

Like its head-traumatized Uncle Rico: The NFL – and OTB parlors all across this proud nation- all MLB games now are ultimately decided by one assumes a Vatican of white men with the finest tuned TV watching skills in the universe. Never again shall a call at the plate be made based on sight & sound, guts & nose, skill & experience (unless elaborated upon in LinkedIn profile as ‘really awesome at watching TV’) and so apocryphal anecdotes such as the one to follow will be rendered as meaningless as home run records set while under the influence of steroids or even the Cubs 2015 campaign: 

‘Babe Ruth once took a called strike from Walter Johnson reputedly traveling with such speed that the Babe didn’t even see the ball pass the plate. No sooner did said ball smack into the leather of the catcher’s mitt and the ump yell ‘yer out’ did the Babe beam back at the man in blue asking, ‘Cmon ump. Did you even see that pitch?’ ‘Well, no,’ replied the ump. Ruth: ‘Me neither. But it sounded outside.’ 

So maybe it wasn’t babe Ruth and maybe it was Yogi Berra (RIP) and maybe the pitcher was Nolan Ryan (rookie season). And maybe blue made the right call. Or maybe it never even happened. Without instant replay, the truth shall neither be known or overturned.

Auden can’t love wingtips …so suggests my Google drive spell check because technology is never quite right, just more right than you or me will be ever again…and now that the robots of perception have taken over MLB, instant replay is the most right ever and bigger than all of us (the World Series included; the proof is a recent decision to delay the 2015 Fall Classic to review whether or not to continue with game one or two without instant replay by reviewing the delay of the game’s instant replay; apparently a pair of Harry Carey specs and empty 40 of Falstaff where discovers next to the chewed through broadcast truck cables) 

And now that I’ve ejaculated my truck over the instant replay rule delaying the play of a game – and this blog – MLB fixated on in order to ramp itself up to PS2 speed allow me to produce for you a conciliatory instant replay of my own device, an olive branch of you will or if you prefer, a casserole, only because you can’t eat a slow motion instant replay I remade the dish from my last post and rephotographed it and upon further review the sweet smokey flava came from bacon shoplifted from the butcher by my 16 month old felon of a son. (Both my son’s identity and that of the butcher will remain anonymous in order to protect me from CPS and the security camera monitor’s career prospects should he or she care to apply for upcoming openings with MLB, as instant replay booths eventually become as ubiquitous as really awesome TV watchers.)

  
Instant Replay: Green Chile Alfredo Linguine Carbonara con bacon

   
    
 

Bigger than Jesus the Beatles, and yoga pants: Esteban Trabajars

15 Sep

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At the current rate of Final Cut Pro post-production, by Christmas 2020, the globe shall be subjected to more Steve Jobs cinematic biopics than those of Jesus Christ, The Beatles and Luke Skywalker en todo. This epidemic outbreak of epic celluloid certainly gives this one pause to ponder some deeply mundane ponderables: Is the iPhone our Gutenberg Bible (with upgrades)? Did Steve Jobs die for our Sims?*

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(*You read that right, a cringe-worthy blasphemous pun. So crucify me whydontcha?)

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Does SJ’s getting all messiahy with it not at least begin to explain the daily commute tableau wherein within a stuffed El train all but the homeless – me too – gaze into luminous Apple gadgets with a reverence traditionally reserved for sacred texts, Kim Jong and yoga pants?

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What but an unshakable iFaith sways we users into believing we the meek shall one day inherit an upgrade to auto-spell recognizing Spanglish as both a word and a dialect, accurate weather apps, and the voice of Siri shall be replaced by that of Demi Moore’s tadpole?
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What Would that these miraculous iPhones might trans-substantiate binary data into iGrub to feed the masses.
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Entrada Yo (and/or the Wu)

Communion Green Chile Green Alfredo Linguine Con Pork Chop Chop Chop Chop Ain’t Nuthin to You-Know-What With

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Ingredients con instructions:
1. Roasted NM Green Cream Sauce
Heat up and constantly stir 2 tbsp o butter and flour until brown

Separately warm 2 cups of whole milk

Remove roux from heat, slowly stir in milk by the ladle.

Stir in:
An onion – diced and sautéed
A bulb of oven roasted garlic – smushed
Quart bag of chopped, seeded and skinned rotated NM green chile
A fistful of fresh cilantro – chopped
Mexican oregano to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Slowly simmer until all ingredients smell like one. Cool. Blend into purée. Return to pot. Stir in 2/3rds of queso.

2. Half-box of fettuccini – al dente
(Google it)

3. A seasoned to ur liking grilled pork chop or two –  chopped

Butter a casserole dish. Mix ingredients but for 1/3 cheese, then glop into casserole dish. Top with 1/3 cheese. At 350 bake covered for 30 minutes or until burbling and smelling as one. Slide under broiler till cheese browns.

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(aqui con huevo)

Mas sagradoso than Esteban Trabajars…

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Mas sabrosa than pantaloons Del yoga…

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El escarbajo optional.

Summer Blockbusters, Artery Blockers and the Art of Turning 50

29 Aug

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Admit it. Jaws best scene comes when a great white’s guts bloody contents slosh onto the dock. We all want to see a limb or two but instead get better: car license plates, a lava lamp, and a bunch of junk that suggests this great white invented the South Beach diet, along with the Hollywood Summer blockbuster.

Some fishermen bring in a fairly large tiger shark. Hooper knows it’s not the shark they’re after, even though the mayor and the rest of the town are convinced their troubles are over.

Summer simmering down to its wet end here – or perhaps those are curt cobain’s tears falling on the Foo Fighters fest @ Wrigley 2night (Rewind: Pearl Jam’s Friendly Confines gig 2013 rain delay also awash in The God Of Grunge) or sweat maybe staged an unlikely play of thoughts starring Jaws, Junk and El Preferrido canned tamales.

 

The tin can tamales I wolfed down back in July. And I felt a responsibility to my loyal readers and family to wait until the test results came in. Over the span btw tamales and The Foos my biological calendar reminded me yo lived to be Fifty:

 

Up until now, I treated mi vida antigua as a series of pop quizzes. At the half-century mark, true standardized testing begins. The format runs from true or false to multiple choice, essay, a greasy finger slid up your butt, to basic arithmetic.

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Me, I performed a modern mid-century durability self-test of sorts with said tin tamales (ahora the alchemy of the meandering metaphor madness) by first cooking up (Cobain reference) the gelatinous BP grease slick floating atop the tamales y the tamales then shot up the red hot sabrosa greasy mess into my maw igniting hallucinatory visages of a cross section of my wax paper arteries clogged up with lava lamp lard (Jaws).

 

We the help of some large cued cottage cheese: aces.

The Verdad La Mexicana Comida Esta Out There….

1 Aug

So these three youthful Midwesterners are at NYC’s La Guardia airport baggage claim abuzz with anticipatory crackish then/Red Bullish ahora pre-embarking adrenaline rush exclusive to both visitors and residents of Gotham and maximum security prisons.

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What today would have been a text and/or tweet shared among friends we the public actually participated – okay eavesdropped – in their animated public discourse.

And what today would have been a Yelp! search actually turned into a lively debate with real opinions shared from real live experience instead of online strangers.

To the dulcet caterwaul – with occasional thud – of a luggage carousel – this husky body politic weighed in on Chicago vs New York pizza: ‘I can’t wait to try Domino’s. I bet it’s way better here.’ ‘No way, ‘Yes way’ ‘No way’ ‘yes way’ ‘Chicago’ ‘New York’ Chicago New York and on and on and on and maybe text might have been less Valley Girly and distracting so the rest of us could focus on our opinions and obvious superior big city sophisticated taste, grab bags, turn up noses, bolt.

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All but yo en verdad. Mi cargo fue returning con yo from Mexico. While the fuerte opinions blogged aqui suggest otrowise. I am still here to tell you the only reason Taco Bell en Mexico is better albeit more authentic than Taco Bell en Esatdos Unidos por que you get to order en Espanol.

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And even though I’ve been called a snob because I refuse to eat @Chipotle – which is to Mexico as Red Lobster is to the sea – you can’t feed a more Catholic, democratic, open and omnivorous maw than mine. Beyond therapy for my PTAzMexSD, the entire purpose of this here blogging a la Marco Pollo is to document my quest for el Cocina Mexicana ultima outside the friendly confines of mi beloved Sonoran desert. I know it exists, even if I have to make it so in mi own cocineria por ejemplo:

 

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I can’t believe you’re not Midwesternican pollo asado y chile verde y cream of chicken y corn tortillas that taste like dumplings y cheese casserolenchiladas

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The chipotle variation (the chile not the chain)

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North Carolina BBQ pork/Trader JoseNM salsa verde/avocado/refried frijoles/Trader Jose flour tort/burro

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Elotes/frijoles/pollo asado tacos con cilantro y radishes from our urban parking garage rooftop garden

Or when I have to burn $5 on some breakfast burrito from Pret-a-Porte labeled ‘Southwestern’ because maybe that’s what Mexican food is like in France?

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Egg Soufflé (Cage free) Refried Black Bean Salsa Red Peppers Cheddar Red Onions Tortilla Wrap

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*To the credit of the Midwesterners who I had no intention of having personify the acronym IOWA (idiots out wandering aimlessly) the very same week I took again to wandering yet again NYC’s sts/aves rather aimlessly, confident enough in my Espanol lengua to order for lunch – much to the delight of the entire diner – a Cubana Torta’ (trans: Cuban Prostitue) and also overheard the following exchange along the way:

Scene: 8th Ave, Times Square, NYC before the greasy window of a Chinese take-out joint tastefully appointed with garlands of Peking Duck.

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Cast: Two young men with Long Island accents sporting Yankees caps – backwards….of, course – studying the menu:

 

‘Peking Duck?’

‘Yeah.’

‘How the fuck they know that duck’s

from Peking?’
And it probably tasted just as good as Long Island duck in Chinatown Chicago.

La Babysitter Chow: New Flavor!

18 Jul

Chef Dinty Moore

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Chef Boy-ar-dee

Chef-Boyardee

Chef Franco American

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Chef Campbells

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If this roll call of classic American seventies canned cooking kings jars loose more than one memory of the dozens wherein mom and dad, mom and mom, dad and dad, mom, dad, mom and the milkman, or dad and the piano teacher closed down the family cocineria for a night and/or days off to ‘play bridge’ or “talk to a man about a horse” and left dinner in the mildly capable hands of a daft teenager, then you too have beheld upon your lengua the sublime glory that be babysitter chow.

Usually pre home economics – therefore befuddled by any kitchen utensil more sophisticated than a can opener time was babysitter chow filled the tummies, hearts and arteries of my gring@ generation (Sandwich) though doubtfully that of Gens X, Y and Z. Always canned, often zesty, made with meat of an unknown origin, ever a treat big time, and offering roughly less than or equal to nutritional value of Alpo: Bow Wow!

Yum si, and yet as El Papa Grande of dos los ninos, speaking for my own family and on behalf of our babysitters, not a single product by these great chefs of yore shall ever pass through the lips and onto the palates of mi children. Not por que yo o mi esposa could ever be accused of not banning such delights from our home, no. We are neither food puritans nor paranoias. Tis por que the kids simply don’t care for it. (Okay, that and for now at least, my love for cooking for and feeding our lot simply won’t allow me to let anyone outside of the family or our local donut shop to make food for the table (and floor).) This of no duh doesn’t mean I won’t continue to feast on the Great Chefs of North America’s finest fixings.

 

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I felt somewhat restricted to exposing my babysitter food fetish on a blog bound to comida Mexicana tipica with so few being of the Mexican persuasion, limiting myself ot a mere espousing  at some length on the glories of Chef Dinty Moore’s tamales, even then within the context of tamales rather than babysitters. (Scroll back if yer so inclined.)  So if you care to, imagine el jig I improvised in aisle 7B at the local Jewel when abracadabra these Beefy TacOs reached out and grabbed mi los ojos:

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Quicker than you can say “Honey, have you been using more glue and brown paper bags than usual? I’ve noticed since babysitter XXXX started we’ve been running out of that and Scotch Guard a lot lately?” I beelined to the cocineria to heat up a saucepan, rock a can opener, grab a tort and sink mi dentes into a spoonful of Chef Campbells appeal to the latin@ vote.

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Esta Good, you betcha. As great as the myriad memories of running wild and free in the house with the parents at the dog track and the babysitter huffed out on Testors and is that Beefaroni I smell burning on the stove top? Hellifiknow, check back with me in about 30 years.

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