Over a decade ago, when I had, let's say a 7 year old and a 5 year old, my husband looked at me and said, "I don't want Friday night dinners to be stressful. Can we just have things we KNOW the kids like?" Voila! . . . . Taco Night was born and you know what, it WORKED and I loved it. Presently, Tacos Nights are a thing of the past, replaced by Chipotle night (teens only, no adults necessary) and soccer games and school dances. As I was sitting alone on my deck one recent Friday night, drinking a beer I thought wistfully back to the recipe that was Taco Night. Shall we review?
1. Begin with a brimming cup of tradition and consistency. Kids love to know what to expect and thrive on rhythm and routine.
2. Add friends and maybe mix in a fun relative, not every time, but guests can help keep the meal fresh.
3. Plop a cup of carrots in the food processor (not the shredding attachment, the regular one) and once you add in the taco spices, and maybe a can of black beans to the skillet . . . .bada boo, bada bing a full meal, veggies, fiber, protein and all in one crunchy Stand & Stuff taco shell.
4. Take out the beans (at constant request of a certain youngest child).
5. Fold in a sleepover (I love children marching up from sleepovers in our basement, if you are super quiet and don't make eye contact while you stir the pancake batter the next morning, you learn a lot!).
6. Add a pinch of table topics www.tabletopics.com, don't over use.
7. Dice up the chores, but dice imperfectly. Kids love to set the table if you give them the supplies and then shut ye olde mouth. Who cares if it's perfectly neat? So what if all the silverware is in the center of the table? Salad plates, why not?
8. Marinate for a decade and look back with misty eyes on the beauty and mystery of kids and tacos and tradition.