In a recent appearance on The Splendid Table podcast, Dan Buettner, author of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, talked about the significance of a shared meal among the world's happiest people. One of the dinners he specifically spoke about was carne asada, the delicious grilled Mexican beef, which a family, or whole community, would stop to cook and eat together, assembling their tacos, drinking and laughing together, becoming more happy as a community and as individuals. In the spirit of this happy zone, I think that the time has come to celebrate the kitchen as a place to meet together as a family, so let's throw a summer carne asada party!
With a meal as festive as Mexican, call me crazy but I think you want to keep your dinnerware simple, and these sweet monochrome plates and glasses will definitely fit the bill. This feisty colored plastic silverware set would be great for an outside dinner party, and will spice up that monochrome tableware like a habañero chili on chicken. Throw a crazy pineapple-printed Mexican oilcloth underneath, unleash your inner Frida Kahlo and pile up the table with flowers, sit back with a juicy fruit fresca in these cute little glasses, and smile.
Okay, yes, these are inexpensive tea towels, but don't they look like expensive Marimekko fabric? I think you could buy a dozen and use them as very generous, very chic napkins, as if in your own luxurious restaurant. And let me tell you, napkins are something you definitely need a ton of when eating tacos with kids.
A taco is nothing without the toppings. Green and red tomato salsas with a ton of coriander, quickly pickled red onions, creamy avocado guacamole. We like to make our own salsas and guacamoles (I'm sorry, England, but it's been tough to find the real thing here), so that means a ton of peeling, chopping, grating and slicing, for which this little gadget set will come in super handy.
Another thing we simply do not do at our house is an outside grill. With a boisterous two-year-old and a twirling five-year-old zimbering about the back garden, we've decided to err on the side of safety and use a stovetop grill pan for all our grilling needs. I know, I know. But look, if you're doing tacos, it's just as good. So this little ridged grill pan will be great on your gas burners, perfect for producing a lightly charred steak, or veggies, or whatever.
According to me, there is no better time of the day than family meal time, and at Chez Puppet Opera we guard ours with a barbed-wire fence. The kitchen definitely is the hub of our home, where we catch up on each other's days, read our mail, sort out the big problems and celebrate the rest. And if we can do it together while assembling tacos, so much the better.