Un Taco de Lengua
The first time I have what I now call Mexican food was in "Sanchez Market" on Atwells Avenue in Providence, now "Casa Mexico." I have only been in the United States for a few months, so I was still creating an understanding of what this new culture is and deconstructing what I thought it was. My uncle picked up from high school, asked me if I was hungry and drove to a Mexican market. I remember not been curious about what was for sale there but feeling comfortable about the maybe sketchy and handmade feeling of the eaterie hidden inside the store. I do not remember what I ordered, but I remember what I ate. I accidentally ate my uncle's order, tacos de lengua, cow tongue tacos. It was my first time trying lengua, as well as eating this version of tacos: Two small white corn tortillas, the chosen meat cover with white onion and cilantro, drizzle with lime juice and some hot salsa. These were not my grandma's tacos that we will eat on Sundays. Even less, the tacos we will often get with the women of my family at Taco Bell. My Dominican uncle knew this place because one of his Guatemalan coworker have taken him there. A few weeks later, I took the women of my family to the same place and told them that really like this places tacos. Maybe it was the limited seating, or then non restaurant looking at the facade of the place, but even before anyone put food in their mouths, they were disapproving of the humble taco stand inside this store. That was the beginning of a long tradition that my family will welcome my recommendations to eat Mexican food with skepticism, they considered them to Mexican for them.
Although I introduce my family slowly to what I call Mexican foods things like mole, chiles en nogada and chilaquiles they not always like them. Many times they prefer fajitas and quesadillas, and that is frustrating to me, but I try to accept their preference. At the same time, I prefer these Mexican dishes because I know the attention to detail and sazón is the closest thing I can get when I am away from home. When you are a Caribbean, nevertheless a Dominican finding food that looks like your food and taste like your food is not always accessible. Mexican food has become my refugee when in need of comfort and substance in the absence of my cuisine. Countless times away from home or Dominican restaurants, I know I can count on finding Mexican restaurants and Mexican products in the store. Mexican, Mexican Americans, and Chicanxs are the largest Hispanic Minority in the United States. Their food and products are the closest things I can find to my cuisine and foodways when I do not have access to my foodways, and their cuisine had influence and interpreted in America is some many venues. So, this is my thank you to all the Mexican and Mexican American restaurants and tiendas that feed my body and soul when waiting for bus rides, between classes, in far and remote areas of the United States and in the urban centers.
I have eaten many tacos since those first tacos de lengua at Sanchez Market. Here are some of my most memorable tacos and Mexican cuisine dishes without an order of preference.
1. Coloradito Turkey Enchiladas, Teresa and Carmela Hernandez Comedor, Oaxaca State, Mexico
2. Taqueria El Bueno, Sonorita, Sonora State, Mexico
3. Chiles En Nogada, Barrio Queen, Gilbert, Arizona, USA
4. Tacos de Lengua, Cabeza and Adobada, Morenos,Chandler Arizona USA
5. Tacos de Barbacoa, Tacolula Market, Tacolula, Oaxaca State, Mexico
6. Tacos de Chicarron , El Cochinito de Oro, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca State, Mexico
7. Tamales, El Rancho Grande, Providence, Rhode Island USA