Fajitas and Forgotten Wonder

My wife LOVES Mexican food.

i mean, would go our for Mexican at least 5 times a week.

i have mixed feelings. Once you hit the deserts of the South-West then my tastes turn towards tortillas and beans, but normally i have pretty specific desires for my south-of-the-border inspired fare. i do love me some street-tacos! Or San Diego style Mexican food. There’s just something magical about a burrito or a fish-taco when the air is that perfect low-humidity pacific breeze and all the ingredients are farm-fresh….

Anyway, back to the standard old run of the mill Mexican Restaurant. You know, the kind that every mid sized town has three of anywhere you go in America. Tortilla, cheese, beans, meat in an infinite amount of configurations! Endless plastic baskets of Nachos and those mini-carafes topped off with salsa.  The kind of Mexican restaurant that brings a simple pleasure to the palate of my bride! As she’s methodically consuming her chimichangas (90% of the time that’s what it is, Chimichangas/fried/ with ground-beef. NOT steak: ground beef) and i’m smearing refried beans and guacamole on a tortilla; inevitably a magical dish will pass us by. A dish that’s as beloved by us American eaters as the “Texas-Sized Margarita”.


They don’t arrive on a plate…. oh no! Fajitas come on a pan! A skillet of cast iron. Hot enough to make Hades flinch! They hiss and scream their way to the table where they are set cooking and spewing steam in front of the lucky diner.

i have a vague memory of the first time i saw fajitas in a restaurant. It was a sight! Never before had i seen still-cooking food served up to a customer. Beef, & Chicken, & Onions, & Peppers all sizzling wildly. i was amazed! It was a sight to behold.
Now, i’m pushing a broken nacho chip around the bottom of a salsa dish feeling miserably full and a score of fajitas come out to customers and i never bat a gluttonous eyelid at them. Seen it before!

We have Fajita moments all the time. The Fajita is the showman of standard Mexican food and we’re mostly over it. IF we see someone who’s still excited by Fajitas we look down on them for their simplicity: Bumpkin!  But once, i was amazed by Fajitas!

Once i was amazed by how much information a cell-phone can store!
Or how fast i can download Fail Videos- in a moving car!
Or how crazy it is that we can buy bananas, in Michigan, in January!
Or air-travel… you know, flying science tubes of awesome?
Once i was amazed that i can call you in another country and you hear MY voice nearly instantaneously, even though it was broken down into 1s & 0s and put back together again…

There was a time when more of us were amazed. i’d argue that life was a little better then. When amazing things happen around you life is more exciting, it’s fresher, there’s less drudgery. But fajitas still happen, cruise control still happens, electric lighting still happens! We just have to clear our calloused mental-slate a little and see it again!


Heck, i might order that dramatic DIY meal myself soon. i’ll sit in wonder and awe as the peppers hiss at me like angry cats, and i’ll be amazed at Fajitas!

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