Don’t judge me. OK, maybe you can judge just a little bit (but not like the stupid laughing cow).
It appears that the more commercialised a taco is the further it strays from Gods light.
I came upon this culinary travesty in my local dependant grocer. It reminded me of the sin against nature known as the “gas station burrito” and I knew that, without a doubt, that I simply had to try one. I mean how bad could they be? I’ve eaten at Taco Bell.
So. To remain Mexican at heart I purchased a taco and not the pinche Tex-Mex burrito. (1)
- I have no problems with either burritos or Tex-Mex cooking but as we are hanging shit on something I figured its best to go all in.
Like any of those who care for their health I flipped the box over to check the ingredient list. The first odd thing I noticed was that the greatest volume of ingredient was the chipotle sauce. Fairly standard; although I’m curious as to the “chipotle flavour”. In Australia if something is “something” flavoured then it does not have to contain any of the actual thing, just something that tastes like it.
Lets have a look at the tortilla. Wheat flour tortilla. No biggie. I didn’t really expect a corn one but DIOS MIO the tortilla is ONLY 29% flour. So its 79% WTF? For comparison sake I show another (un-named) wheat flour tortilla ingredient list below. This one shows that 98% of the tortilla is flour, shortening and agua (and only 2% WTF). According to the ingredient list of the heresy I purchased the tortilla is flour, water and shortening…..so it looks like they even skimped on the lard by putting more water in the mix. EEK. Also, the ham, only 75% pork???? That’s a lot of additives then. The rest is salt, sugar, 1422 (1), 326, 261 (2), 451, 452 (3), 316 (4) and a pinch of 250 (5).
- Thickener 1422, Acetylated Distarch Adipate (E1422) is popularly known as thickener 1422 (which is the additive code name) that finds application in food as a bulking agent, stabiliser, and thickening agent. It is a vegetable gum that might come bleached with acetic acid
- Acidity regulators 326 – Potassium lactate – Potassium lactate is commonly used in meat and poultry products to extend shelf life and increase food safety as it has a broad antimicrobial action and is effective at inhibiting most spoilage and pathogenic bacteria; 261 -Potassium acetate – Potassium acetate (KAc) or potassium ethanoate is the potassium salt of acetic acid. This ingredient can be used as an acidity regulator, flavor agent, and preservative to replace sodium acetate to reduce sodium in food
- Stabilisers 451 – Sodium tripolyphosphate E-451 is the sodium salt of triphosphoric acid. It is extracted commercially from the carbonates of the various salts and phosphoric acid. It is an inorganic compound. Another name for this additive is pentasodium triphosphate; 452 – Salts of sodium/potassium/calcium/ammonium with phosphates. All are produced synthetically from the respective carbonates and phosphoric acid.
- Antioxidant 316 – Sodium Erythorbate – the sodium salt of erythorbic acid, a stereoisomer of sodium ascorbate. It is used as an antioxidant, a preservative and a curing accelerator in meat and fish products.
- and a pinch of preservative 250 – Preservative (INS 250) is a food additive commonly used in the meat industry. When it is added to meat, it gives a rich red color which makes the meat very appealing in appearance. It also protects the meat from oxidation which causes rancidity and bad odour and prevents the development of harmful bacteria,
Lets open the box and take a look. Before we venture too far I feel it important to note that to the plastic peel off the inner container required the use of my handy dandy kitchen machete. Fingers were not sufficient for the task.
As for the contents. Pretty straightforward really
Aside from the tortilla this pack looked much like the munchables I put in my daughters lunchbox throughout her Primary school years. Just swap out the tortilla for some Jatz crackers and away you go. These (the Munchables I mean) were considered to be the height of culinary gastronomy (amongst the 6 – 10 year olds).
Now lets wander back to the 29% flour tortilla. This sucker was prefolded and rather oily to the touch. It was quite brittle and threatened to snap when I unfolded it. There was no way I was going to be able to refold it without heating it up (and rolling it like a burrito was not going to happen)….so into the sandwich press to warm it into pliability.
Lightly toasted. Now we add the carne, queso and salsa. The salsa was a little acidic but had a nice chipotle tang. The queso was standard grated cheddar. Certainly not a Mexican ingredient; grated yellow cheese is not a common ingredient in México, you are more likely to find shredded queso de Oaxaca (quesillo) being used as your cheese filling or queso fresco (as the cheese crumbled over the top your dish).
Construct and toast
Overall, I did not feel too violated by the taco. I will however not buy one again. There is only one thing on this Earth more offensive (taco’lly speaking) than the travesty above and that is Menu 6 of the US Armed Forces MRE (1) 24 hour ration packs (the burrito is in Menu 16)
- MRE = Meal Ready to Eat. A Meal, Ready-to-Eat is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging purchased by the United States Department of Defence for its service members for use in combat or field conditions where other food is not available. While MREs should be kept cool, they do not need to be refrigerated. Each meal provides about 1,200 calories (5,000 kJ). They are intended to be eaten for a maximum of 21 days (the assumption is that logistics units can provide fresh food rations by then), and have a minimum shelf life of three years (depending on storage conditions). At a minimum, they should last 1 month when stored at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). Or they could last 5 years at 50 °F (10 °C)
Still, it is one of the most popular menu choices (so popular in fact that it has its own t-shirt). USA. USA. USA.
Gratuitous sad taco pic
and just in case you weren’t offended by the contents then maybe the packet has what you need