Texas is the land of cattle, cowboys, and best of all, Tex-Mex! The food back home is something I find myself missing regularly over here in Dublin. Unfortunately, I cannot really rave about the food in Ireland. I apologize to my European friends, but I have to give my full experience abroad – that’s why I started this blog in the first place. Sure, I’ve had some of the best seafood chowder over here, and Ireland has seriously perfected the art of making a thousand different versions of potatoes, but I just cannot compare Irish cuisine to American.
Take, for example, a simple stroll down a grocery store aisle. Back in Texas, a trip to the supermarket was an enjoyable experience. I loved the pre-made food section at Central Market, the fresh produce at Whole Foods, and the familiarity of Tom Thumb. I cannot find pre-made Chicken Salad that is comprable to my favorite from Market Street. I’m a chip girl, and the selection here makes me want to cry at times. I’ve contemplated bringing back Fritos or Cheetos in my luggage, but I just know they’ll arrive a squashed mess and I’m saving myself the embarrassment of having to tip the bag to get a bite. And don’t get me started on the “hot dog hunt.”
Cheese – another of my favorite food groups. Wait, it’s not a food group? Well, it should be. There are so many varieties and so many ways to use cheese. One might argue that I have it good here in Europe; that they have every type of cheese imaginable. I only need to reply “queso” to validate my next point. Queso is by far the best food invention of all time…AND IT DOESN’T EXIST HERE! Not only can I not find it in any restaurant, but I cannot find a good cheese, like Velveeta, with which to make queso. Back in November, I made queso as an appetizer for our Thanksgiving meal, and our Irish/British friends couldn’t get enough of the stuff. I love dipping chips in it (again, Fritos, sigh), and using it as a sauce for tacos. It’s my Superbowl meal of choice, an obvious appetizer order at almost all restaurants in Texas, and I’m even hoping to one day use a queso fountain instead of a chocolate fountain at my wedding.
Now, my grumblings may be a result of my recent return to the States, where I overindulged in all of the foods I love. Has anyone else tried the new Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito? It has nacho cheese AND Fritos in it. Tex-Mex was also a go-to meal during my stay; I love flavorful fajitas, beef tacos, margaritas, taco salads, etc. This may be why I am becoming such a foodie. I want to learn new and fun ways to cook the things I love from back home.
So, if you have an unbeatable queso recipe that doesn’t require Velveeta, comment. If you have some delicious Tex-Mex recipe that doesn’t require a pre-made, store bought sauce that I probably won’t be able to find, comment. If you know some magical way to make Fritos at home, comment. In return, I’ll blog about it!