My first real boyfriend from high school once told me that people might stop thinking of me as aloof and cold if only they could see what delight I took in walking into possibly the last Taco Tico restaurant anywhere and having my feet stick to the floor a little with each step. Taco Tico was forbidden fruit when I was a child: at that time, my father despised Mexican food and didn’t want anyone else eating it either. Don’t worry, I’m choking up a little, too.
Never mind that now, though, I’m trying to remember: is it possible I’ve never heard about Lay’s Southern Biscuits & Gravy Flavored Chips anywhere before? No, not that Erskine Caldwell novel where Jeeter’s ruminations on why Lov’s 13-year-old wife Pearl might have run away to the city have to be interrupted because Dude has backed over Grandma Lester in the driveway and she needs burying…. I really think this experience is brand new for me.
Oh, and I see it has the 2015 flavor award winner badge. That actually really influences on-the-spot purchasing decisions when consumers are making important shopping choices for the households / demographic segments they represent.
This part’s like the denouement: Now that I’m grown, I know Taco Tico does not really count as Mexican food. What’s more, my dad now likes at least Americanized Mexican food reasonably well, partly because the guys at the grain elevator where he worked for so long teased him gently about his gringo-food lunches until he finally gave in and expanded his horizons a little.
Finally, I don’t know exactly what became of that boyfriend, but he was such a generous and open-hearted person that I can still sometimes reflect back on a memory of something he did and learn how to be more human. It was, in fact, he who introduced me to the southern-gothic horrors of Caldwell’s Tobacco Road. I think of him fondly and hope he is well.