My friend, Lori, is in treatment for breast cancer; and her close girlfriends hosted a fundraiser to help offset her expenses and surround her with love. As I’ve noted before, North Dakotans aren’t big on overt displays of affection, and so events like fundraisers are popular around here because, as my mother says, “North Dakotans would rather starve than spend $10 on eggs for themselves, but will drop $50 on six cupcakes to show someone they care.”
This particular fundraiser took the (cup)cake because the organizing ladies managed to solicit a bonkers number (that’s the official count) of silent auction and raffle items from area businesses. In addition to the auction and raffle, Lori’s friends sold 50/50 tickets, made available Miss North Dakota to take pictures with attendees in exchange for free-will donations, and offered up an extensive table filled with food, also available for a non-specific monetary amount. If you’ve ever been to North Dakota I don’t need to tell you that the most popular item was the Walking Tacos; the ladies had to stop an hour into the event and stuff Lori’s son’s backpack with Walking Taco $20 bills to make room for more.
For those of you who have never had the delicious fortune of consuming a Walking Taco – otherwise known as Taco in a Bag – allow me to give you a small taste of its majesty.
A Walking Taco starts with an individual bag of chips. When I was younger, those chips were Fritos; now that we have developed as a society and invented things like THE INTERNET and BUMPITS, Walking Tacos can also be made with Doritos.
“What about tortilla chips?” You may be thinking. Walking Tacos are never made with tortilla chips for reasons I don’t have time to explain.
Each individual bag of Doritos/Fritos/Not Tortillas is smushed by hand until the chips are crunched but not crumbled; then the bag is turned on its side, sliced the long way, and opened into a little pouch. That pouch is filled with taco meat (always ground beef), shredded cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and, if you’re feeling spicy, sliced jalapenos. The ingredients are then mixed together – held in place by the handy-dandy walls of the chip bag – and eaten with a fork.
It’s called a Walking Taco because, unlike a regular taco, it comes with a wrap-like object to allow a person to enjoy it on the go.
Everyone loves Walking Tacos. Everyone. What’s not to like? Salt? Portability? Walking Tacos are so universally beloved that they are served around here as a school lunch. Even my EIGHT-year-old (birthday was Monday!), a self-proclaimed “vegetarian” who only consumes chicken nuggets, will eat Walking Tacos.
The best thing about Walking Tacos is that you can customize its ingredients to your fancy and no one will know you have a disgusting palate. I, for example, like to cover my Walking Tacos in ranch dressing, just as one would at a taqueria in Oaxaca. Eight picks out the chips and then pretends to be full until someone produces a dish of ice cream. My husband eschews the chips entirely and encases his Walking Taco in fry bread, which is called an Uffda Taco around here and a Fry Bread Taco in Saskatchewan and isn’t technically a Taco in a Bag but whatever.
For his part, my Eleven-year-old is a Walking Taco purist and wants only chips, taco meat, and cheese. Chips. Taco Meat. Cheese. He once had a Walking Taco where a single whisper of lettuce had inadvertently drifted into the bag from lettuce fields unknown and IT RUINED HIS WHOLE DAY. It should be noted that he will eat lettuce if served on a plate.
For Eleven’s eighth birthday, I decided to become the most popular mom in the world and serve Walking Tacos. I bought a box of individual bags of Doritos, filled two giant bowls with shredded cheddar cheese, and then cooked taco meat according to my tried-and-true taco recipe, which I had made one hundred times prior for one hundred taco dinners that had been devoured by Eleven (then Seven/Eight) all one hundred times. However, none of those one hundred taco dinners included the word “Walking” since we were sitting at a dinner table.
It turns out the word “Walking” is pretty important to the Walking Taco process because only one kid ate my Walking Tacos and that kid wasn’t my own. I had made a few back-up cheese pizzas and those went like they were covered in literal and dairy-based gold. When I asked Eleven/Eight why he didn’t have a Walking Taco, he said it was the wrong taco meat. It’s now almost four years later and I still don’t know what that means but I certainly learned a lesson that day.
At Lori’s fundraiser, Eleven got himself a Walking Taco.
“Do you want a bite?” Eleven asked, holding out his fork.
“Does it have ranch on it?” I joked/not joked.
“No,” he said. “But guess what? I put taco sauce on it.” He nodded knowingly. I peeked in the bag. A one-quarter teaspoon taco sauce was drizzled over a single chunk of taco meat.
“Wow,” I said.
“Yep,” he said, proudly. “I guess I’m growing up.”
“I guess so,” I said. “Next up, lettuce.”
He shook his head. “No, lettuce is for old people.”
“Sage words,” I said, as Kyle walked up with a fistful of 50/50 tickets in one hand and a plate of egg rolls in another.
The photo above is of me. Completely unrelated (minus the fact that this is about my own child), I have to tell you something Eight said after school one day.
Eight: [Kid in my class] said he has ADHD, but I don’t believe him because he’s never gone to war.
Kyle: …you’re thinking of PTSD. PTSD is what you get when you go to war. ADHD is different.
Eight: Oh, okay. Then I guess he has ADHD.
Kyle: Sounds good.
Five high school seniors – Jaylen Anderson, McKenna Barnick, Kaylee Kemp, Casia Steinhaus, and Piper Suhr – will graduate from both high school and Lake Region State College in May. (Grand Forks Herald)
Speaking of young graduates, six Bismarck State students are set to graduate from college before graduating high school in a few weeks. (KFYR TV)
Have some extra seeds laying around this spring? Minot’s Amee Mitchell is looking to propagate a community seed library. (KX Net)
Anamoose students got a taste of a Farm to Table lunch made with area beef and the school’s garden via a farm-to-table program – and fun fact from the article: North Dakota has more cows than people. (KFYR TV)
Speaking of tables, Elgin’s Kirby and JoAnn Schatz have taken to hosting “farmboy breakfasts” for their agrarian neighbors. (Fargo Forum)
Hatton’s Carl Ben Eielson will soon be memorialized in film. (Fargo Forum)
The headline of this article says it all: Williston’s Band Day Parade marches on. (KFYR TV)
Linton’s Dan Carr is serving up his last year of caramel rolls and coffee to graduating seniors. (KFYR TV)
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