"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Quesadilla

Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, the quesadilla began showing up on restaurant menus all over America. It was a very different thing than the quesadilla I grew up eating. For one thing, it was big--usually two oversized flour tortillas, sandwiching gooey cheese with additions: chicken, other meat product, herbs, chiles, or whatever the clever chef had on hand.

This is generally a very tasty snack, and I confess to making a version myself from time to time (though I usually go meatless--I can't imagine cooking a piece of chicken or steak to simply use it in a quesadilla. It just doesn't seem appropriate. This is akin, I suppose, to my reluctance to order pasta as a meal at a restaurant. Pasta is a first course to me, or a side dish--how can one be satisfied with only a bowl of pasta?). However, the quesadilla my mother used to make (neither of us makes it now) consisted of a corn tortilla (almost always store-bought) folded around some softish cheese (usually Jack, unless someone had been to Mexico lately and brought back some Mexican melting cheese) and fried in oil. Before the average American knew what a quesadilla was, I'd eat these things all the time. My friend Tom, unable or unwilling to say "quesadilla" called my favorite snack "greasy cheese." Which it was. Very delicious greasy cheese. This quesadilla has completely disappeared from my repertoire. My recently (last ten years or so) health-conscious mother denies ever making it at all.

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