My Life and Food

So many of my favorite memories revolve around food. My family loves to cook, so when we all get together for holidays it means that we are guaranteed to be full. Since my great grandmother passed away, we have been using her recipes more frequently to keep her with us. For Christmas, she would always make Chinese chicken wings which were baked in the oven in a sweet sauce that has too many ingredients to list, and her pumpkin pies were the best I have ever had. When I was a child I used to write my letter to Santa and would write a P.S. asking him to leave a pumpkin pie just for me. When I later was told that Santa didn’t exist I was hurt but would still ask for a pumpkin pie because as it turns out, an entire pie is the perfect Christmas morning breakfast.
My family makes a habit of eating dinner together every night if we can. If any of us ever had a friend come over for the first time, it was pretty much an unspoken tradition to cook them Okie tacos. I can guarantee that you have never had anything quite like an Okie taco which only has three ingredients: ground beef, taco seasoning, and pork and beans. We would sit down at the table and set the dish of Okie taco meat down and glance out the corners of our eyes at our guest to see the subtle look of despair that they tried desperately to hide from us. We (my family members) grabbed our tortillas and sprinkled grated cheddar cheese down the middle and reached for the spoon to heap several spoonfuls of meat onto our plates, while our guest mimicked our actions with considerably less meat in the equation. As we started to eat we would occasionally look over to see how the newly converted Okie taco lover was fancying their meal. For me, this is such a normal dish and when people hear of it they look disgusted— their facial expression says something along the lines of, “why would you ever put pork and beans into a dish that you would dare to call tacos?” It’s unexplainable, its delicious, and best of all its what home tastes like.

Alani Rinkenberger


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