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Guilty pleasures…

We all have some sort of food that we just love, even though it’s the furthest thing from high cuisine. K, for example, willingly consumes strawberry-flavored Quik…

For me, that guilty pleasure is Taco Bell. Their particular variety of not-really-Mexican-food is one of my favorite comfort foods. When I was a kid living in Kentucky, with no idea what real Mexican food (or even Tex-Mex) tasted like, Mom would buy those hard taco shells and pre-mixed seasoning kits and we’d brown up some ground beef, cook up pinto beans and mash ’em up in a pan with a little bacon fat, chop lettuce, onion, and tomato, grate cheese, and put the carton of sour cream on the table, and that’d be good eatin’. Somehow, it all came out remarkably similar to Taco Bell’s offerings, actually.

Later, when I was in medical school, there was a Taco Bell just a few blocks from my home. I’d be driving home post-call, having not slept or eaten for a couple of days, and didn’t dare stop at any of the drive-throughs near the hospital, because only the gnawing hunger was keeping me awake… Pulling into the Taco Bell meant relief from that hunger and also that I was almost home and could crash for a few hours. So now, when I’m stretched too thin, I crave Taco Bell – my hind-brain says that will make the pain go away.

The point of all this rambling is that I was driving home and listening to the radio DJs talk about whether the recent e. coli outbreak at Taco Bell was caused by the onions or the lettuce, and all I could think was “Mmmmmm. Tacos……”

And I decided that was kind of funny in a twisted sort of way.


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