When a man reaches a certain age, he stops dreaming about women.
And he begins to dream about TexMex.
Especially if he is dying Down Under from MFD (Mexican Food Withdrawal).
The last time I had actual Mother’s Milk, I mean TexMex, was six years ago.
SIX YEARS AGO!
I am dying down here.
That was when I took Junior to America.
He was 18 at the time, and we’d been in New Zealand since he was four.
It was time to re-acquaint him with his family, his culture, and, most importantly, TexMex.
I put on five pounds during the three weeks we were in Oklahoma.
It was possibly the best time of my entire life.
NZ ‘Meskin Lite’
Don’t get me wrong.
There are “alleged Mexican” restaurants in New Zealand.
They have Mexican sounding names.
Some have the word “Mexican” in their name.
One even has an Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the wall.
But, at best, there food is “California Trendy Mexican Lite”.
Yes, I go to them.
But a little piece of me dies every time.
The difference between NZ Meskin Lite and Swear-To-The-Lord-Tex-Mex is like the difference between a bar of Hershey’s chocolate and my Mom’s Christmas fudge, which could make grown men weep.
I. Am. Dying. Down. Here.
More than dying, I would kill for Real TexMex.
Even for bad-but-authentic TexMex.
For Pancho’s All-You-Can-Eat-Mexican buffet (where you could raise a little Mexican flag and they would bring you another 10 or 20 pounds of enchiladas).
For El Chico’s chicken enchiladas covered with gallons of sour cream, plus free tortillas with queso, butter, salsa and relish.
But, most of all, I would kill for anything on the menu at that Mexican restaurant in McAlister, Oklahoma.
I can’t recall the name.
It was sort of run down, plain-on-the-outside and dark-on-the-inside place.
A place where the waitresses were all plump, Hispanic, and happy.
A place where you never had to ask for more free tortillas or chips or iced tea, because the waitresses were always one step ahead of you.
Like Spanish-speaking angels, or something.
I am dying down here.
Not only do I miss TexMex, I would sell my kidneys for a huge plate of Authentic Nachos.
Like they used to serve at TGI Fridays.
Nachos that included about 900 different cheeses and meats and beans, hot sauce, buckets of sour cream, chili peppers, and thick tortilla chips that did not wilt when they came in contact with flavor molecules (e.g. “grease”).
Seriously, people, I am dying down here.
I may be fat, but I feel like I am starving to death without TexMex.
It does not matter that my stomach sounds like it is strangling a bobcat if I eat anything spicier than a Big Mac.
Or that Gaviscon is my preferred desert.
I want TexMex!
I finally understand why my Dad would eat Mexican food even though it made his ulcer bleed.
Because it is worth the pain.
Out of the Will
Once, years ago, way back when my niece in Arkansas loved me (no guilt, J-P), she sent me a C.A.R.E. package that included Rotel, Velveta, Dr. Pepper and Reese’s Pieces — representing all essential food groups.
For three days I ate nothing but cheese dip and Reese’s.
I changed my Will and left everything I own to that girl.
But, alas, there have been no more D.I.Y. TexMex packages.
I have had to cut my ex-niece out of the Will and resort to eating Nu Zillan Meskin Lite.
But I still dream.
Of burritos, enchiladas and chile relleno.
Of Empanadas, quesadillos and tamales.
Of fluffy Spanish-speaking angels.
So the next time you enjoy a real TexMex dinner — the kind that clogs your arteries and packs layers of pure fat directly on your gut or butt — remember me.
Because I am dying down here.