I was ten years old and had already eaten my way up and down the country ten times before I encountered my first bona fide Mexican burrito. A burrito in Mexico seemed as out of place as a plate of frog’s legs.
“Dad,” I exclaimed. “They have burritos!”
Steve chuckled. “Burritos in Mexico. You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Detecting some sarcasm, I narrowed my eyes at him.
We were sitting in a diner attached to a Pemex station on some windy stretch of Chihuahua highway. While we waited for our burritos, Steve explained that burritos are a specialty food in the state of Chihuahua, and because we spent most of our time further south it didn’t surprise him that I’d never eaten a real Mexican burrito. Then our burritos arrived, and he stopped talking. I still remember these divine torpedos: not what they were filled with, but the shape (long and narrow) and the texture of the snow-white flour tortilla (perfectly soft). A child’s dream food.
Fast forward twenty-three years to our house in Oregon, where I find the following greasy bit of paper crammed into my dad’s old metal recipe box:
Last night I attempted the recipe, with delectable results. I didn’t have quite the right tortilla to roll the long narrow burrito I remember so fondly, but the results were tasty anyway: the spicy and succulent filling dribbling from the buttery casing; the first bite as soft as a pillow stuffed with chicken. I served the burritos with cauliflower sauteed in a sauce of yellow tomatoes, chicken broth, and toasted cumin, as well as a coleslaw drenched in a feta parsley yoghurt dressing that I found in, of all places, Martha Stewart Living. (Let us not dwell on that last parcel of information.) Naturally, my camera ran out of batteries right as I was attempting to take a picture. The shot below is the best I’d managed. Martha would not be pleased by the quality, but you get the gist.