by Sara Deseran under modesto, Travel, Uncategorized with No Comments
Monday, May 18, 2015
Much of modern-day food media revels in exalted tales of gluttony—entertaining stories in the vein of “Eight hours in Tokyo: 12 bowls of ramen, 20 shots of whiskey, and one drunk-ass encounter with Anthony Bourdain.” Though it’s often a guy behind this kind of story, regardless of gender, there’s an element of caveman preening attached to one’s ability to consume, in less than a savory period of time, obscene amounts of pork belly, or foie gras, or burgers.
This isn’t to say that a woman doesn’t want to test her mettle from time to time. We can’t all sit around writing about bone broth like Gwyneth or go Giada and bend over steaming pots of pasta in a tight scoopneck. We don’t always want to be Alice Waters (sustainability—so limiting) or Gabrielle Hamilton (memoirs—so emotionally draining). Sometimes a woman just wants (or thinks she wants) to spend 48-hours eating copious amounts of commodity meat tacos and raise her hands in victory.
Of course, I’m speaking about myself. I’m the one who pitched a story on a taco trail through the Central Valley of California. This whole idea came to pass on an icy winter morning in New York over coffee with Yaran Noti, the friendly, easy-going deputy editor of Saveur. Yaran asked me if I had any ideas for their May road trip issue, maybe something to do with Mexican food. In the competitive world of food writing, you always say yes.
Joe, who grew up in Modesto, suggested we head down Highway 99—forgoing the well-reported taco path of the less gritty Highway 1. So a month later, I found myself Google-mapping a group of recommended taco joints (narrowed down after hours of research) and coordinating with our accompanying photographers Dylan and Jeni before embarking on a 276-mile, two-day journey from Sacramento to Bakersfield. Despite some trepidation, I figured I could swing this—I had extra mouths after all, including Joe who drove while I scribbled notes. I gave ourselves an hour per place.
The big day arrived and the last bit of a vicious flu that I’d contracted the week prior was still haunting me. I had Kleenex shoved in every pocket and a full box in the car. My upper lip was chafed from incessant nose blowing. I had circles under my eyes from nights of mouth-breathing sleep. Unfortunately Saveur shoots do not come with makeup artists and wind machines.
However, you know you’re in love with tacos when you can fall for them again and again, against the odds … [continue to the whole blog at saradeseran.com].
Read the “On the California Taco Trail” Saveur story here or buy the May issue for glossy photos!