I am back again this a.m. with LD, with whom I have just shared a perspective changing event.
Yesterday when we were surfing the InterWebs trying to decide what to co-blog about, we came across this:
We were both a little intrigued and grossed out by the tasty possibilities that would most certainly result in a roiling gut. Neither of us had actually been to a Taco Bell in years. I guess this is true for a lot of people, which is why YUM! Brands had to come up with a brilliantly evil incentive to entice lapsed fast food junkies back into the fold. After all, many of us grown ups craved a taste of nacho-flavored nostalgia, the orangey-powder-covered memories of our youth.
[Side note: we all should have seen this coming when this past summer we were seemingly out of nowhere hit with the TACO flavored Doritos. Even the elitistacademic was not immune to the delicious powdered power of nostalgia. When I saw that burnt orange bag with the offensive little sombrero on the upper left-hand corner of the label, I instinctively reached for it, and never gave it a second thought, though I did think an awful lot about my red Honda Prelude, an ice cold Big Red soda, and heading down to the beach. That’s how it works people. Evil genius.]
[LD: Side side note: I helped eat the two bags she purchased. Not one, but TWO.]
[Side side side note: It’s true, she did. I think there was gooey butter cake involved as well.]
We were fascinated by stories of Nacho Cheese Doritos shell shortages and imagined angry stampedes and posted signs forlornly announcing: “NO LOCOS TODAY.” Pictures and reports from people who were sickened and aroused by the fusion of artificial tastes and food stuffs made us laugh, though secretly there was a longing for just . . . one . . . bite.
[LD side note: My longing was in no way secret.]
This morning the enthusiasm had not waned, but instead quickly boiled over into a frenzy so that at 10:00 a.m the hunter gatherers of this household were out foraging for Doritos Locos Tacos. It was like a dream. Believing not believing. It was Christmas morning, Easter Sunday, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. We waited in breathless anticipation. When we heard the garage door go up, we steadied ourselves for word on whether or not they had returned successfully from the hunt.
The following are exchanges that took place during what can best be described as an exhilarating experience spiked with a tinge of self-loathing and the desire to repeat it immediately.
EA: Oh, my god they are here! Do you think they found some?
LD: Half of me is wishing they came back empty handed, but the other part of me can’t contain my excitement. I now understand the definition of Morton’s fork.
[Door opens Hunter Gatherer #2 aka Nico enters first]
[We do not move as the commotion continues at the door, and do not dare to let ourselves hope as we hear the rustling of plastic. Enter Hunter Gatherer#1]
HG#1: Calm your bodies! CALM YOUR BODIES! Are you ready?
EA: Did you get them?!?
HG#1: Six pack, right here. Let’s do this.
We quickly move toward the kitchen and call everyone to the table to partake of what most certainly will be a delicious synthetic treat. To be honest, it’s the fastest that everyone has gathered around the table in this house. One taco is set out in the middle of the table and unwrapped for us to gaze upon. It is mystical perfection.
Nico: [Does not hesitate. Dives right in and with mouth full.] Best-thing-ever.
EAM [EA’s Mom]: What IS this?
Nico: DELICIOUS. This might be my new favorite thing in the world.
[NOTE: Suddenly, I feel like the most irresponsible parent in the world.]
We try to take it all in. The dusty yellow goodness coating the orange shell, the meat that was proclaimed not to be meat but then determined juridically to be meat, the cheese allegedly rolled in flour to stay perfectly separated.
LD: I was just about to say that.
HG#1: It’s ALL good.
EAM: Why does this taste like a Dorito?
In a flash, it’s all over. Wrappers lay empty on the table, and we all greedily eye the taco centerpiece, which ultimately goes to the youngest among us who will be eating fruit and yogurt for the rest of the day.
HG#1: I feel dirty, . . . I can’t wait for the Cool Ranch version.
LD: I couldn’t talk while eating; it was too much for me. Here’s my post-game review: The first bite was a little overwhelming. Halfway through the second bite, a sort of calm washed over me. As I swallowed the third, I realized I had finally found purpose in my life. I finally found love.
What is brilliant about this gastronomic abomination is that it ironically appeals to the generation that has come into its own as foodies. The longing for youth trumps palette snobbery. I imagine people in drive-thrus ordering up bags of Locos, hiding in alleys and parking garages, stuffing their mouths and bellies, while Night Ranger, Taylor Dayne, or Winger pours out of the car speakers. [LD: And Pearl Jam and Sound Garden.]
We immediately set about spreading the good word. The first person we told responded in way that perfectly captures Doritos Locos in a taco shell: “That’s so wrong. . . . I’m getting one tonight.”