Readers, today's topic is tacos.
Tacos are on my mind because last Sunday I ran a race here in Oregon—the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon, beautiful race by the way—and the postrace refreshments included a taco bar.
I knew the taco bar would be there, courtesy of a local place called El Rio Burrito. The prerace info mentioned it specifically. But nothing could prepare me for the joy it brought me.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this taco bar easily ranked among the Seven Wonders of the Modern Culinary World, right between the All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Buffet that Includes Omelet Station and the Turducken.
There's something special, I've decided, about the intersection of distance running and tacos. But why? And how? And is there such a thing as a "sweaty taco"?
Here are some answers.
Are tacos the perfect postrace food?
Because tacos deliver all the nutrients your body needs to recover and repair after a hard effort—protein, carbs, shredded lettuce, and jarred salsa—in customizable ratios.
Also: The best foods, in our opinion, are both simple and delicious. The taco scores extremely high in both categories. Even a poorly constructed taco is a taste sensation, and as for simplicity, well... the taco has just two ingredients:
Also: Tacos are the pinnacle of nutritional transparency—you see every single thing you're about to ingest. No one ever bit into a taco and then made a "yuck" face as they realized their taco had coconut in it.
Also: Being able to assemble your own taco after a long, difficult effort lets exhausted and often disappointed runners regain a sense of control. Weather or bad luck or even your own body may have taken charge of your race, but at the taco bar you're the one calling the shots.
Also: Tacos are delicious.
Why don't more events have postrace taco bars?
This is a terrific question, and no one seems to have a good answer. You might start by considering the political muscle of the bagel manufacturing lobby—i.e. Big Bagel.
How can I encourage my local race to offer tacos?
As you approach the food tables postrace, scan the offerings and ask the volunteers, hopefully, "Got any tacos?" When they say no, fall silent. Frown. Eyeball the offerings a final time, sigh audibly, and walk away.
Eventually they'll get the hint.
Is there such a thing as a "sweaty taco"?
Yes, there is. Via Wikipedia:
Tacos sudados ("sweaty tacos") are made by filling soft tortillas with a spicy meat mixture, then placing them in a basket covered with cloth. The covering keeps the tacos warm and traps steam ("sweat") which softens them.
Aren't many tacos eaten postrace "sweaty tacos" even if they don't start out that way?
Should I Google "sweaty taco" to find an alternate and less wholesome definition?
No. Whatever you do, do not Google "sweaty taco."