I could ask my mother I suppose
We had homemade tacos tonight
Tomatoes and sweet onions with patent numbers,
Mexican lettuce and Kraft’s version of cheese
Yet they were quite tasty
We baked the cardboard-boxed, shrink-wrapped
Pre-formed and cooked shells to a nice crunch
And I remembered tacos past
Being very young in Montgomery
Mama cooking the meat and the tacos
in skillets on the stove top
The tacos were the white soft, flat stacked kind
The meat a little greasy, draining on paper
Did she cook them in water or margarine?
I know it wasn’t butter, progress and all
Instant coffee, biscuit tubes, Kraft Mac and margerine
Where did she learn about tacos? In Mississippi?
At the ladies church luncheon? Better House Keeping?
I could ask her, but I never have, and why did she change
To the pre-made crunchy kind when I was in my teens?
And how did she cook on the stove top
In the summer in Alabama without A/C?
Where are the little grocery stores,
Meat in a case and fresh local produce
Stacked in bins and a few rows
of canned goods and staples
In short crowded aisles in between
I had a Mexican in-law for awhile
Once a year we would cook chicken tacos
An all day event and the night before, too
Tasty, but a lot of work, but they were Mexican
How did my mother come to make a taco?
How did she ever leave fried chicken
And slow oven roasted beef?
I could ask Mama, and maybe I will
Because there is a lot I don’t know about tacos
(I wrote this in 2003, unfortunately, I can no longer ask my mother, as she died this past January)