How to Eat a Taco

Two Methods:Minimizing Mess and Containing Your FillingsSpicing Up Your Taco

Most of us have been eating tacos the same way for years. And most of us continue to have messy experiences with fillings falling out and soggy or split shells. Add these complaints to the tired standard toppings and you've got yourself one sad Taco Tuesday. Don't worry! With a few new tips and techniques you can successfully enjoy a taco with entirely new flavor combinations.

Method 1
Minimizing Mess and Containing Your Fillings

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    Line your taco shell with lettuce. You can do this for a hard or soft shell. Either way, the lettuce will block any liquid or salsa from dripping out or seeping through your shell.
    • Keep in mind what you put on top of the lettuce. If you spread hot meat over the lettuce, it could wilt. Consider layering cheese, beans, or rice on top of the lettuce.
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    Fill your taco without overdoing it. Avoid filling the shell too full. Hard shells will usually begin to crack with the first bite. The more filling you have, the messier it will be. Overfilling a soft taco will make it harder to wrap and might cause it to tear and lose its filling.
    • Be prepared in the event that filling does fall out or your hard shell breaks. Have a fork or chips nearby to scoop up any filling and shell that ends up on your plate.
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    Use a fork to prop up hard tacos. Never leave hard tacos laying on their sides. The filling is likely to spill out and your shell will soak up any liquid on your plate. Instead, rest a fork right-side-up with the tines facing your taco. Gently insert your fork into the end of the taco, balancing it vertically.
    • This is also useful for loading up your taco.
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    Wrap your soft taco like a burrito. To do this, place your filling off-center and fold one edge of the wrap over. Tuck the ends towards the filling, then roll in the direction of your first fold.
    • Rather than load up your soft taco with salsa or sour cream, think about dipping the wrapped taco in those condiments instead. This reduces the chance of your taco splitting open or becoming soggy.
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    Use a napkin. Place a napkin in your lap or tuck one into your shirt if you worry about dribbling sauce down your chin. Wipe your mouth frequently in between bites to clean off any grease.
    • If you're really messy or the tacos are very saucy, keep some wet naps around the table.

Method 2
Spicing Up Your Taco

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    Start with a filling. Whether you choose to eat a hard or soft shell, you're mainly eating the taco for its filling. Many of these are classics, but you can be creative. You can also mix toppings for a variety of flavor. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Meats - ground or shredded chicken, beef, pork
    • Beans - pinto, black, or refried
    • Rice - brown, Spanish, or white
    • Fish - fried or grilled halibut, tuna, cod, or whatever you usually favor
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    Choose the right cheese. It's no surprise that certain cheese work better with some fillings than others. Here are a few ideas to try[1]:
    • Try Manchego if you're using chorizo, salsa verde, or sour cream.
    • Use Cheddar with ground beef, crema, and jalapenos.
    • Try Feta or Cotija with pork belly and pineapple.
    • Use Mozzarella or Pepper Jack with hard chorizo, sauteed chard, and hominy.
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    Add toppings to your taco. Try to move beyond the typical guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes. Give one of these a chance:
    • Shredded cabbage
    • Diced onions
    • Grilled jalapenos
    • Chopped cilantro
    • Lime juice
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    Make a salsa. While you can purchase a variety of salsas, you can really personalize a salsa if you make it yourself. Here are the basic types to get you started[2]:
    • Salsa Roja - This is the red pepper-based salsa that most people immediately think of when it comes to salsa. Tomatoes are optional and you can make it as spicy as you like.
    • Avocado based: You can make it thick and pasty like guacamole, or leave it thinner with chunks of avocado.
    • Pico de Gallo - This chopped and raw salsa usually consists of onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers.
    • Salsa Verde - Again, you can make this green salsa as spicy or mild as you like. It's typically made from tomatillos, chilis, and cilantro.
    • Pineapple based: This is usually a mixture of finely chopped or large chunks of pineapple tossed with diced tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.[3]
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    Try a totally different style. Who says tacos always have to be Mexican inspired? Take a page out of another type of food you love. Here are some ideas to get your out of a standard taco rut:
    • Barbecue - Use barbecued chicken with lots of tangy sauce, shredded cabbage, and cheese.[4]
    • Breakfast - Use crispy potatoes, bacon, and cheese on top of scrambled eggs.[5]
    • Green - Use sauteed greens, such as kale or spinach, sweet potato, avocado, and sour cream.[6]
    • Leftover - Tacos don't have to be labor intensive, especially if you use leftovers. For example, don't throw out that spaghetti or sloppy joe filling. Make spaghetti tacos or sloppy tacos and cover with your favorite taco toppings.[7]

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Categories: Eating Techniques