Happy National Empanada Day (4/8)

Alright, National Empanadas Day!  So, what are we talking about here?  I didn’t know for sure.  I’d heard about empanadas quite a bit throughout my life, but had my first one about four months ago when a guy who works with my wife made a bunch of them for his baby shower.  Yes, I was at a baby shower, ok?  Look, I don’t think I’ll ever forgive women’s lib for creating the ridiculous culture where a man is dragged to an event that’s entire function is to give tiny frilly clothing and toys to a barely human guest who isn’t even present, and by the measures of some, doesn’t even exist yet.

Getting back to the original question of, “So, what are we talking about here?”  Empanadas, we’re supposed to be talking about empanadas, not babies or their hygiene.  What you’ve got here is a shredded meat crepe.  I know that if this blog were read by a Cuban or a Filipino, I’d be getting some heat for my dismissal of this or that spice or additive that differentiates the two, but to base it on down, that’s what we’re talking about.

The spices and additives are quite various such as cumin, cheddar, raisins, garlic, whatever.  Cuban and Filipino readers would want me to note the differences, however, since both are known for the dish.  The Filipinos grabbed it from their Spanish colonization.  They also grabbed pretty tight to Catholicism, but Catholics aren’t really known for their awesome food.  Come to think of it, how come there aren’t any Christian foods?  We have “Jewish” food, so where’s all the Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, and Wiccan food?

The major empanada difference that the Philipines and the Cuban versions have, that I can discern, is akin to the difference between Southwestern Chili and Cincinnati chili.  One has spicy spices like cayenne and habanero, and the other has Christmasey spices like cinnamon and cloves.

To get an empanada, on Easter, I said a little prayer to St.Someone or Other, and made my best internet search that I was capable of.  I’m not trying to mock religion here, but if empanadas are created by a culture that is predominantly Catholic, I was not too hopeful that I would find a serving vendor on Easter Sunday.  I have to tell you, I really did not want to make dough today.

Chicken & Beef Empanadas

The Black Bean Cafe was open and had them, both beef and chicken, and they were only $2.50 a piece so I bought both a chicken and a beef, add it only cost me a buck in gas round trip.  I want you to notice the grease on the paper underneath the empanadas.  My pointing it out his is not a negative.  The fact that I didn’t finish both empanadas is actually a severe compliment because although they tasted great, I felt like if I finished them both, I just might get really sick in an hour.  Wait, that’s not an insult either!  Anyone who goes to the Black Bean Cafe in Tallahassee should get an empanada.  You really should. The black beans and rice are also great. Eat there!

See you Monday at a Chinese buffet for National Chinese Almond Cookie Day.

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About Jim Clark

"If it was worth doing, then it is worth writing!" -- Jim Clark -- Someone else probably said that before, and I'm sure that each semester she starts her Creative Writing 101 class by writing it on the board, but I never took that lady's class so I am taking her quote! I work in the world of advertising, but I write for a living. Here in the second decade of the '00s, we find ourselves in a culture where virtually everyone writes for a living. With all the clicking and clacking on Facebook, Twitter, emails and texts, our lives are more than ever intertwined with writing. At the same time, it's also become increasingly more important to shorten our thoughts down to as few characters as possible. So, now, more than ever, I think it's also important to hold a place in our lives for expanding and honing our thoughts through writing. This is my place for that.
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