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Fether

Why is taco seasoning so bad?

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Alternative question: Why does Mexican food at restaurants taste so much better than homemade Mexican food? It’s almost as if they are completely different genres of food

 

what is the solution? I absolutely LOVE Mexican food bought at every restaurant (I even enjoy some Taco Bell stuff). But I can’t stand  homemade Mexican food.

Edited by Fether

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1 minute ago, NeedleinA said:

Lard

It’s not just a healthiness factor... taco seasoning tastes nothing like what you get at Mexican restaurants

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21 minutes ago, Fether said:

It’s not just a healthiness factor... taco seasoning tastes nothing like what you get at Mexican restaurants

I think it just depends on the recipe. I made some Mexican Street Tacos last week with steak, red onions, cilantro, and lime that was honestly (not bragging I'm still pretty new at trying to make stuff like this) was as good as the stuff I get at my favorite Mexican places.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

Alternative question: Why does Mexican food at restaurants taste so much better than homemade Mexican food? It’s almost as if they are completely different genres of food

what is the solution? I absolutely LOVE Mexican food bought at every restaurant (I even enjoy some Taco Bell stuff). But I can’t stand  homemade Mexican food.

Authentic Mexican food in a restaurant will taste different than "Americanized" Mexican food from a restaurant.  And that tastes different than "Tex-Mex."  And all of them taste different than home-made.

The only real differences between "authentic" and a really good "Americanized" Mexican restaurant are

A) The lard content (as @NeedleinA said) and

B) The way they treat cheese). 

C) Some things that we traditionally think of as "Mexican" is really American food based on Mexican dishes.  And the Americanized restaurants will serve these.

At least, that was all I could tell.  And TBH, I prefer the Americanized.  But the authentic is ok.

The difference between homemade and restaurant is just a matter of recipe and cooking style.  Different ovens.  Different spices.  Different blendings of what to put into the salsas, etc.  The way things are cooked make a big difference.  If you grill onions vs sautee them or oven bake them, they taste very different.  This goes for all sorts of ingredients.

My wife make stuff out of boiled, shredded chicken. Then she puts the seasonings and so forth on them.  The Mexican restaurant marinades, then slow cooks, then shreds, then adds some additional seasonings, then bakes.  Your restaurant's mileage may vary.

Edited by Carborendum

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2 hours ago, Fether said:

Alternative question: Why does Mexican food at restaurants taste so much better than homemade Mexican food? It’s almost as if they are completely different genres of food

 

what is the solution? I absolutely LOVE Mexican food bought at every restaurant (I even enjoy some Taco Bell stuff). But I can’t stand  homemade Mexican food.

I love Mexican food but I don't like the food served at typical Mexican restaurants (besides Taco Bell and other fast food places). The food is very different.  Having said that, I make tacos often and we all enjoy it.

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If you are using a store bought taco seasoning mix, this could be it (I can't stand that stuff--too salty and taste like preservatives, to me). Make your own and make sure you get quality ingredients. I recommend going to a local International market or Latin market to get your seasonings. I make my own and store it in an airtight container. Whenever I need Mexican seasoning (taco, chili, taco soup, etc), I use this. 

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We had tacos last night. We always use the Old El Paso seasoning, which I like, but I don't believe I've ever had tacos at a restaurant so I don't know how much better they are there.

Having said that though, about 30 years ago I visited a colleague in Dallas, Texas, and he took me to a proper Tex-Mex restaurant, where we had enchiladas. About a year later, back in the UK, I went out with some friends to a Mexican restaurant, and asked for enchiladas (remembering how much I'd liked the ones in Dallas) but what they gave me was (by comparison) the most miserable excuse for an enchilada imaginable. So I can well imagine "proper" tacos being  a quantum leap better that anything I've ever tasted.

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On 1/16/2021 at 1:51 PM, Fether said:

Alternative question: Why does Mexican food at restaurants taste so much better than homemade Mexican food? It’s almost as if they are completely different genres of food

 

what is the solution? I absolutely LOVE Mexican food bought at every restaurant (I even enjoy some Taco Bell stuff). But I can’t stand  homemade Mexican food.

I thought I would add that ingredients, methods and attitude matter as much as seasoning (thought seasoning is also considered ingredients).   It is interesting to me that one can find the basic recipes or chain restaurants on the internet.  However, not all hamburger is created equally - the same applies to produce.  A good restaurant will purchase a class better of ingredients than what is usually made available at the average neighborhood grocery store.  Some of the best cooks I know - prefer growing their own ingredients and spices rather than relying on the services of industries of mass distribution.

I would much prefer to eat a home cooked meal - especially if meat is involved.  The problem for me is the time needed to prepare a meal properly sometimes is not worth it - so eating out is more a matter of convenience than the best of taste. 

I also mentioned that attitude can contribute to taste - I do not completely understand why but I have discovered that when back packing into wilderness areas - everything I cook seems to taste much better than when cooked in the convenience of our home - especially if fish is involved.  Interesting as well - whenever I am on a long distance bicycle ride (100+ miles) whatever I eat tastes wonderful.

 

The Traveler

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Some years ago I started mixing my own seasoning and never looked back.

You also may not be letting the meat sizzle enough. You want a nice char.

You also may not be my ancient neighbor who hails from middle-of-nowhere, Mexico and possess all Mexican cooking wisdom.

Word to the wise: If you're in my backyard when her three billion descendants are over dinner, do not make eye contact with anyone over the fence. If they get the slightest inclination you are aware of their presence, a giant paper plate of food will be prepared for you and you will have to eat it. It may be delicious, but it is also a month's worth of food on one plate. 

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

I also mentioned that attitude can contribute to taste - I do not completely understand why but I have discovered that when back packing into wilderness areas - everything I cook seems to taste much better than when cooked in the convenience of our home - especially if fish is involved.  Interesting as well - whenever I am on a long distance bicycle ride (100+ miles) whatever I eat tastes wonderful.

So I'm not a ham-and-cheese person. I think it's disgusting. 

Back in the day at Scout camp, staff prep week happened to be during a high-altitude Idaho snowstorm. And I had lifeguards to train in the freezing lake. We spent a morning miserable, then hiked back to the lodge for lunch where they served... ham and cheese on cheap rolls. It was amazing. Best food ever. Why? It was hot.

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2 hours ago, Backroads said:

Some years ago I started mixing my own seasoning and never looked back.

You also may not be letting the meat sizzle enough. You want a nice char.

You also may not be my ancient neighbor who hails from middle-of-nowhere, Mexico and possess all Mexican cooking wisdom.

Word to the wise: If you're in my backyard when her three billion descendants are over dinner, do not make eye contact with anyone over the fence. If they get the slightest inclination you are aware of their presence, a giant paper plate of food will be prepared for you and you will have to eat it. It may be delicious, but it is also a month's worth of food on one plate. 

Um, what is wrong with making eye contact? I would LOVE having a neighbor like that!

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5 hours ago, Backroads said:

So I'm not a ham-and-cheese person. I think it's disgusting. 

Back in the day at Scout camp, staff prep week happened to be during a high-altitude Idaho snowstorm. And I had lifeguards to train in the freezing lake. We spent a morning miserable, then hiked back to the lodge for lunch where they served... ham and cheese on cheap rolls. It was amazing. Best food ever. Why? It was hot.

For both yours and @Traveler's post... I am reminded of the saying... Hunger is the best sauce.    I mean normally we get hungry and we eat no big deal... But if you have postpone it... and or have a larger then normal calorie spend.. your body lets you know... Food is Good.

Edited by estradling75

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16 hours ago, estradling75 said:

For both yours and @Traveler's post... I am reminded of the saying... Hunger is the best sauce.    I mean normally we get hungry and we eat no big deal... But if you have postpone it... and or have a larger then normal calorie spend.. your body lets you know... Food is Good.

In my youth I spent 40 days in training of desert survival.   After a week I would eat all kinds of things but my favorite was ant larvae and finding an ant hill was such happiness.   But ever since the completion of the survival training I have not been the least bit keen to eat ants.  This experience has caused me to ponder when Jesus talked about hunger and thrust for righteousness.  When we get hungry enough we will love and appreciate whatever the L-rd provides to receive it with thanks giving.  But if we are not very hungry we tend to be very picky.

 

The Traveler

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On 1/18/2021 at 12:13 PM, Backroads said:

Some years ago I started mixing my own seasoning and never looked back.

You also may not be letting the meat sizzle enough. You want a nice char.

RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! 

On 1/18/2021 at 12:13 PM, Backroads said:

You also may not be my ancient neighbor who hails from middle-of-nowhere, Mexico and possess all Mexican cooking wisdom.

Word to the wise: If you're in my backyard when her three billion descendants are over dinner, do not make eye contact with anyone over the fence. If they get the slightest inclination you are aware of their presence, a giant paper plate of food will be prepared for you and you will have to eat it. It may be delicious, but it is also a month's worth of food on one plate. 

Soooo... uhmmm.... just how would we get to know that neighbor of yours...?  Asking for a friend.

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! RECIPES! 

Soooo... uhmmm.... just how would we get to know that neighbor of yours...?  Asking for a friend.

Come to my house in the spring, she winters at one of her kid's homes.

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Must be where you live and what you eat.  I make some pretty darn good enchiladas and tamales.  I even rate them higher than some of the Mexican restaurants I've been to.

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1 minute ago, Carborendum said:

Recipes!!!

I'll have to write them down.  I've made them enough that I don't really have a recipe.  

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On 1/20/2021 at 12:39 PM, pam said:

I'll have to write them down.  I've made them enough that I don't really have a recipe.  

Too often the yummiest dishes are this way and when following a recipe it just doesn't turn out quite right, there's something magical about the just knowing the right amounts in the moment based on ingredients on hand!

Hopefully yours transfer well into recipes though! Maybe I'm just not good at getting things written down accurately or following other's directions.

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On 1/20/2021 at 2:37 PM, Carborendum said:

Recipes!!!

I'll give you my taco seasoning recipe that I use. 

I make a big batch of my own and store it in a baggie within a jar with a lid. Here's my basic recipe that I usually triple to make a big batch. Dravin and I want to try to make our own chili powder, too, sometime.
 
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried onion
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
½ teaspoon red chili pepper
 
You can add salt to this but I don't (I just salt whatever meat or beans I'm using). Also you can make this spicier by adding more red chili pepper or other type of dried pepper.

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