Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Great Taco Experiment-RESULTS! #30TacoTrucks30Days #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner

Hello dear ones!
btw-If you haven't seen the "Soy Yo" video just stop reading this and go watch it HERE

How are we all holding up? We're in the election home stretch and, as promised, I'm here to share the results of my Great Taco  Experiment! Yes, I did it, I ate a meal at a taco truck every day for 30 consecutive days. Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter got to come along for the ride, but for brevity's sake, here's a quick slide show of the entire experience:

So what were my takeaways (pun intended) from this little project? Here's 10 things I learned.

1. I had no idea how many people (by which I mean anyone) would view my eating tacos as a political act targeted against them personally instead of targeted at the narrative that is being churned out by a particular political figure. Really? I'm just eating tacos and poking fun at a demagogue's racist rhetoric. I thought that was something we could all get behind, right? Wrong.

2. Turns out people don't like even the suggestion that they might be racist by association. Even if by "suggestion" you mean "eating tacos". I quickly realized how naive I had been going into this. I mean, if people are this offended by my eating tacos and posting it on social media, then they must really agree with this guy, no?

3. You know what really helps when you realize people you've known for years and years may be racist and may harbor racist feelings about you specifically? Eating more tacos.  I'm totally not kidding, it really helped.

4. Tacos trucks  provide delicious, actually rather nutritious food to the masses at unbelievably low prices. The best fish taco in town (at Kiko's Place) will run you an entire $1.75. And two tacos make more than a meal.

5. Taco trucks are a meeting place for every social and economic class to gather over their love of tacos, learn about each other and create a sense of community. Not once did I hear anyone getting into a political argument or putting down their fellow man while standing around a taco truck. Which is not something I can say about my local post office, frozen yogurt store or home improvement mega-store.

6. Free soup while you wait. DELICIOUS. HOMEMADE. FREE. SOUP.

7. There are nowhere near enough taco trucks in San Diego, let alone the USA. In fact the only downside to my taco truck odyssey was the amount of time I had to spend looking for taco trucks.

8. Taco tucks provide valuable income for surrounding businesses. A great taco truck is a boon to anyone's brick-and-mortar biz, no matter what it is.

9. Taco Trucks are as American as Apple Pie and Marshmallow Fluff. Especially in the West, also known as "used to be Mexico".

10. While not all the taco trucks I visited were operated by immigrants (some were Latino Americans born in the USA), many were. Like most immigrants from anywhere in any field, they worked tirelessly to provide quality service, even during a week-long extreme heatwave in which hundreds of other businesses closed. Workers who had the day off of course didn't want to spend the hot day cooking at home, so guess where they went?

Then there was this day:
This is the taco that had me sobbing in the parking lot.

If there's one main takeaway from this whole experience, it was this: FOOD IS POWERFUL. As a necessity of life, it has the power to bring us together and it's absence means the end of all civilization. Nothing evokes memories, good or bad, as effectively as food. As I mowed my way through 38 tacos, I remembered the first time I had a fish taco (made for me by a childhood friend's dad who was a fisherman). I remembered my high school years when I ate the "California Taco"- like the "California Burrito", which made it's debut during my adolescence, it contained carne asada and french fries. No wonder I gained two pounds.

I was completely caught off guard, however, by the taco in the photo above. It was at a taco truck I'd driven by countless times during the last couple of years, but had never visited. When I finally pulled into the parking lot I was astonished to discover that Tacos El Ranchero (at the Telegraph Canyon Road on-ramp to the 805) served, pretty much exclusively, exactly the dishes I grew up eating and almost never find in restaurants. Tacos made from cabeza (yep, head) and lengua (tongue) were never my favorite as a kid (though my late dad adored them), so I chose tripa (tripe).

I took the tiny taco (only about 4 inches wide) to my car and couldn't resist sneaking a bite. Immediately, tears flooded my eyes and before I knew it, I was sobbing into my tripa right there in the parking lot at Tacos El Ranchero. I couldn't figure out why at first, but eventually the memories of childhood barbecues started surfacing. All my cousins (I have 18 first cousins alone) and aunts and uncles singing and talking loudly and running and even fighting while my grandfather happily grilled tripa on the barbecue he'd built himself in the backyard. When my grandfather got too old to stand over the grill, my Uncle Chuy took over tripa duty-and his recipe was even better. Like my dad, both my grandfather and my Uncle Chuy are long gone. I never realized until that moment in the parking lot just how deeply I missed them, that I never thought I'd ever taste tripa again, and how grateful I am to have grown up in this country, at this time, in this family, eating this food.
My grandfather (standing) and my dad (the kid in the foreground)  at Thanksgiving-
the only holiday where we didn't eat tacos.
They would have gotten such a kick out of this whole taco truck thing. My dad and his brother were the first members of the family to attend college-for their generation just finishing high school was a huge accomplishment. My grandfather was a cowboy and in many ways a very traditional, macho, Latino man, but he was also the biggest champion of diversity I've ever known. All three men faced a great deal of discrimination during their lives, but they never let it stop them from pursuing their dreams and setting an example for the rest of us.
My Uncle Chuy (center, with saxophone) in his ground-breaking, multi-racial band, The Mixtures.
He later became a professor at San Diego State University.
When you encounter folks with an "us against them" view of their fellow citizens, for whatever reason, I hope you'll respond as my dad, grandfather and uncle always did, with patience and compassion and the offer of a taco.

Wishing you love with extra cheese,
Nacho Mama

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Great Taco Experiment! #30TacoTrucks30Days #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner

Wow, has it really been that long?

How is everyone? Tired of the election cycle yet? Yeah, me too. And despite my last post, I've never been a person who goes all political on social media. I try not to push the candidate I'm voting for down anyone's throats and I really respect the people in my life who have different political views than mine.

This time, though, it's been a little...different. Though I have friends and family that span the political spectrum, one thing is very clear: no one I know personally, not one single person, no matter what their party affiliation, is planning to vote for the GOP candidate. 

Most of my Republican friends* have even reached out to me and others about the rhetoric coming from the GOP candidate, assuring us that they absolutely do not support the vitriol and hate speech we've all seen on the 24-hour news cycle. They are standing up to their own party and holding them accountable, because they feel it's for the good of their party. And you know what? That actually helps. 

*This is where I interject that I, personally, do not belong to any political party. I like to really research everyone's position before casting my vote, regardless of which party my vote represents. It's time-consuming but it helps me sleep at night.

Anyhoo-as most of you are aware, this happened a couple of days ago:

Like many of you, my first thoughts were:

1. "Dominant Culture? WTF is that supposed to mean?"


2. "Great. Now I want tacos."


3. "OMG, every corner? How can I make sure this happens?"

As many of you know, I live in San Diego. Which means I am acutely aware, perhaps more than most, of what this glorious, Trump-free, taco-filled future would look and feel like for all of us. And it is FREAKING DELICIOUS.

Upon further reflection, I realized how long it had been since I had actually purchased a taco from a taco truck. Waaay too long! And what if, heaven forbid, the unthinkable happens and THEY ALL DISAPPEAR? I would have been complicit, and I'd never be able to forgive myself. Also, to be honest, the "Latinos For Trump" guy's remarks really, really offended and hurt me. So I decided to deal with those feelings the best way I know how, by:

1. Poking fun.


2. Eating. Tacos.

I'd like to do what I can to keep a cheery attitude while also keeping the local taco truck industry humming. I decided to try and eat at least one meal a day, for 30 days, from a local taco truck. My friend Jen suggested the hashtag #30TacoTrucks30Days - and the Great Taco Experiment was launched!
Day 2: VERY convenient location!
Follow me on Instagram or Twitter (@shesnachomama on both) to see all the amazing tacos (and more) I will be eating! 

And stay tuned here on the blog to see what a month of Taco Truck Cuisine does to my waistline. Kind of like "Supersize Me" only more delicious, less dangerous (I think?) to my health and with better makeup. That's right, I will be posting RESULTS of The Great Taco Experiment on October 2! Until then...

Have you ever enjoyed taco truck tacos? They taste like freedom.

Wishing you love with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama

If you are reading this anywhere but on, then this content has been stolen. Please do not support thieving cochinos and click away!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

So here's why I reported you to Facebook...#NOH8 #StandWithTarget

I mean...

Image via The San Diego LGBT Community Center
I really love Facebook. It makes me so happy to check in every day with my family and friends all over the world and get a glimpse of how we're all doing. I am grateful when I see friends sharing their struggles, since it gives me an opportunity to say "Hey, I'm here for you." instead of finding out later that they have been suffering through something in silence.

Another thing I love about my Facebook feed is that it gives me a window into the worldviews of the people in my life. Some are diametrically opposed to mine, a complete 180, and I appreciate how respectfully we share our beliefs with each other. Even in this vitriolic election season, we've all managed to keep it classy.

So here's why I reported you to Facebook.

As most of us probably know, recently Target (aka The Happiest Place on Earth) introduced a groundbreaking policy allowing transgendered patrons and employees to use the Target restrooms according to the gender with which they identify, not the gender on their birth certificate. Now, why such a no-brainer is truly "groundbreaking" is another topic for another day. This action, which has sparked a minor boycott, made barely a ripple on my Facebook feed, except for people mentioning how much more they will enjoy shopping at Target.

A few people, though, didn't see it that way. I sort of get it, not everyone grew up among as much diversity as I did, and things they don't understand are scary to them. For the most part, such people's posts on the subject fell along the lines of, "I'm not sure what this means. Does it affect me?"

But a couple of people went beyond that. Like way beyond. 

It started with comments like, "Better make sure I use the bathroom before I go to Target!", which sounded like something straight of the The Help. Then it progressed to comments expressing fear "as a parent" for the "safety" of kids who might need the potty at the Big Red Dot. Uh-huh. I've never taken kindly to people using their kids as a human shield against civil rights. 

Let's be honest, this is not about your kids, it's clearly about you. Your kids are not going to know, or care, what gender is on anyone's birth certificate unless you show them how to. It reminds me of that song from South Pacific:

Did I seriously just reference a Broadway musical? Yikes, I must have really strong feeling about this!

A few years ago I had the honor of interviewing a support group for Latino parents of LGBTQIA youth at The Center (in my neighborhood of Hillcrest here in San Diego) for an article I'd been assigned to write for Mamiverse on LGBT acceptance among Latinos. The Center had produced a deeply moving documentary, Mi Familia, which chronicles the struggle of Latino families of LGBT youth as they fight for the children they love against medical prejudice, hate crime and social backlash. They deal with unfair and patently untrue stereotypes every day. 

Stereotypes like the one in your post, which I reported to Facebook. 

Your post used a frankly disgusting cartoon to assert that our children are somehow in greater danger of being molested because of Target's bathroom policy. 

Really? You really think a transgendered person is the same thing as a pedophile? 

This comment was made by someone, by the way, who had previously expressed outrage over Donald Trump describing all Mexicans as murdering, drug-dealing, rapists. That was beyond the pale, but somehow "transgender=hide your kids" was not? God made transgender people, gay people, brown people, white people...all kinds of people. You know why? Because God is not a bigot.

I was really proud to explain to my kids what this policy was all about. How it is a small, important step for human rights. I am proud to take them shopping with me in Target and yes, proud to let them share the bathroom with transgender female patrons and employees. 

But I was outraged and ashamed at the prospect that they would see your post.

And that's why I reported you to Facebook. In case you're wondering.

Even though it was a tiny gesture, it wasn't an easy one. And I decided to write about it because I figured I can't be the only one feeling conflicted about reporting this kind of hate speech from people they love on Facebook. Change has to start somewhere. 

Below is the Mi Familia documentary in it's entirety. If you can honestly see the pain in the eyes of these mothers and not be moved to #StandWithTarget, then please just unfriend and unfollow me now.

Wishing you love and #NOH8 with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama

Saturday, March 12, 2016

News Fatigue? This looks like a job for SALSA KIDS! #salsakids #thesalsacure

Oh, dear. I know, I'm experiencing it, too.

News Fatigue.
Me after watching cable news.
It's gotten pretty ugly out there, hasn't it? I don't care how positive a person you are, enough exposure to this stuff can get you so riled up, bummed out and let down that it can start to seem like there's nothing any of us can do to make this world a better place. 

I feel you. 

These are the times when I need to be reminded that one light heart outshines a thousand dark ones. When I need to see, really see, that it's infinitely more powerful to inspire someone's joy than it is to light a fire under their anger. 


That's right. I'm pulling out the big guns here, people. Just try and keep a straight face and a still booty while these children blow you away with the unbridled, fantastic tripping of the light that is...

Feast your eyes..and your SOUL!
The cuteness! The footwork! THE FIRE!
Come on! What are you, made of stone?!
SALSA KIDS! Bringing people together all over the world.
SALSA KIDS! There's no one they can't help. 

Don't believe me? Oh, ye of little faith. Don't you see? 

SALSA KIDS aren't just here to help you and me.


Feel free to replay as often as necessary. You feel better now, right?
Me after SALSA KIDS!
I'm pretty sure that when the Divine Gloria Estefan said, "The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" she was talking about SALSA KIDS!

SALSA KIDS! Here to recharge our batteries so we can all live to fight News Fatigue another day.


Wishing you love with extra cheese,
Nacho Mama

If you are reading this anywhere but on, then this content has been stolen. Please do not support thieving cochinos and click away!