A cultural eye-opener: Pat’s taco night

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All my ingredients sprawled out perfectly for my family to enjoy, shown above. Photo taken at dinner time.

Patrick Roghaar, Copy Editor

I feel the very first thing I should exclaim in this is story is the fact that I am no chef at all. I have very little skills. I can make good toast from time to time, and I have mastered frozen pizzas over the years, but that’s about where my skills reach an end. For this story and the impending Cinco de Mayo holiday, I figured I’d go south of the border and make a little taco bar for my family in quarantine.

Earlier that week I made a trip to Publix and weaved my way around the aisles, avoiding the virus, to get my supplies. Taco ingredients are fairly simple: some tortillas, ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and any other toppings that your heart desires. It is your world and we are just living in it. I got my ingredients and headed home. My sister, who just recently came home from Gainesville where she was staying, helped me along this culinary journey. She instructed me how to cook the meat, and I laid out all the toppings into bowls. Tortillas we had both soft and hard shell. For the soft shell, I microwaved a stack of them so soften them up and get them ready for maximum capacity. The hard shells I spread out on a cookie sheet and placed them in the oven, so they were nice and hard but not cooked entirely. The meat was obviously the hardest because that is the one part of the taco making process that actually requires skill and basic-cooking knowledge. Because I lack both of those in the kitchen, I received some assistance and we were able to get the ground beef cooked and seasoned without any issues.

After all the cooking, everything had to be laid out onto the table so my family could grab whatever ingredient they please and enjoy. My family was impressed with the work I had done. I received an A plus from my mother and father. The whole experience int itself was a valuable lesson. It humbled me greatly. Being in quarantine, doing whatever I wanted for the most part, I felt on top of the world. Cooking a meal returned me to reality and reminded me that I do have responsibilities in life. Cooking is an amazing property of life. I feel truly humbled and blessed to have been given the opportunity of cooking a meal for my family. In my mind, I just was thinking about what Taco Bell tastes like and did everything in my power to recreate that. Cooking this one simple meal makes me think if I made a mistake attending East Lake and should have enrolled in the Tarpon High culinary academy. My tacos would have been a hit over there. Ultimately, this was a fun way to occupy myself during this quarantine and I may have to try this again with another dish, perhaps quesadillas.