Grandma Jackie Has Flair

“He’s quiet now, with his little boy on his lap. They have the same haircut. Martin gives his son a kiss and rubs his forehead. He holds him tight. Something becomes clear in this moment. The real barbecue we love, that we pretentiously and earnestly came to save, might be under siege, but it isn’t dead. It lives in anyone who believes in doing things the way their grandfathers did, who believes that what we eat tells a story about who we are. It lives in anyone who cares enough to sit all night with a hog. It lives in the fading notes of “Auld Lang Syne” and in the sparks popping off the burn barrel past midnight. It lives in the way a father holds his boy when the cooking is done.” Wright Thompson, Garden & Gun

I grew up in a house where the most exciting thing on the menu was Mexican. Not great Mexican, but a gentrified version. I loved it though. Saturday was usually the night we had burritos. I looked forward to this all day. Then again, I always looked forward to dinner, regardless what was on the menu. Our burritos were basically canned tomatoes and/or tomato sauce, canned diced jalapenos and sometimes hamburger. The base was a warmed flour tortilla, topped with refried beans and cheese. The sauce, which is what we thought of as the heart of burrito-dom, was ladled over the cheese to melt it. The piece de resistance was to roll and smother the whole thing with more sauce and grated cheese. It was a plate full of awesomeness! My stomach is growling just thinking about it!

So if in our house Mexican was considered the haute cuisine, then imagine how we felt when we went to Grandma Jackie’s for Navajo Tacos! This was a whole new level of intrigue. The Navajo taco is built on a fried dough base, that is pretty much a sopaipillas being used in a savory dish. This was then topped with whole pinto beans, shredded lettuce, pulled pork, shredded cheese, sour cream and diced tomatoes. Then you could add salsa or guacamole. This little ditty was heaven on a platter. All of us kids remembered eating these at Grandma Jackie’s house, but nowhere else.

Can you imagine my delight at finding her recipe in the little green box? I didn’t want to mess with it too much, but I had to make my own version of pulled pork (see my Facebook or Twitter post last week when I made Blueberry-Adobo Pork!). How could I not? I think I may try this again, but with a yeasted dough. I thought these were OK, but I can imagine how much better they could be.

I forgot to mention how awesome these were tossed into powdered sugar and eaten with lemon curd. I also had some hazelnut ganache. It was so high calorie, but so worth it!


4 thoughts on “Grandma Jackie Has Flair

  1. I believe that avoiding refined foods is the first step to be able to lose weight. They can taste very good, but processed foods contain very little nutritional value, making you take in more simply to have enough energy to get with the day. If you are constantly consuming these foods, changing to whole grains and other complex carbohydrates will aid you to have more power while ingesting less. Good blog post.

    • True. I suspect I can remake these in a healthier way. My spouse asked that I never make these again. They were simply too easy to eat and not great for you. A lot of what I am finding in this recipe box I inherited is like that.

    • It’s nostalgia and about our late great grandmother, not about a lecture on refined foods. How comne people always gotta come along a lecture?

      • I know, but what are you going to do? Sadly, a lot of why I haven’t ever really cooked from “the box” was because the stuff just didn’t seem healthy. I prefer from scratch and even a lot of those were full of lard and Oleo. Oh well, this is the lesson that I am looking to learn. So be it!

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