Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Navajo Taco

THE TACO, before I set to work

The biggest meal I have eaten in a long, long time was a one-course affair known as the Navajo taco, ingested with gusto at the Cameron Trading Post.

The Navajo taco starts with “fry bread”, a fresh, springy bread that is patted flat and deep fried to a golden brown, then smothered with a spicy combination of ground beef and beans, and topped with chopped green chile, fresh lettuce and tomato, and tangy cheddar cheese. It was served with a zesty homemade salsa.

This is the most famous item on the menu in the trading post's restaurant, and could realistically satisfy a party of about three. Our Navajo waiter, after looking at my thin frame commented "Oh, you must be hungry," which I interpreted to mean "Are you sure? There's no way a guy like you can eat that!" Having been issued a challenge like that, there was no way I was going to let him win the argument. The next hour was spent dissecting and enjoying this wonderful meal. It was a tough slog toward the end, and I did leave a sprinkling of pinto beans scattered across the plate, but everything else was consumed with relish. After this gargantuan meal, I didn't feel any appetite for another day.

The Cameron Trading Post was established in 1916, and has a huge shop selling Native American art, pottery, jewelry, rugs and other items. I bought a tomohawk here which one day will find its place above my fireplace mantle.

This talented Navajo weaver described her rugs to us.

Left: a small part of the pottery assortment. Right: Cameron Trading Post in 1930

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