Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Street Tacos, Tortilla Soup and Pioneer Days!

In case I haven't mentioned it already, the Mexican Food here in Ogden is truly amazing.  I mean, it doesn't seem to matter whether you are buying it on the street or in one of the many restaurants. 

So, today I am inspired to make some Tortilla Soup.  I already had purchased a roasted chicken, so that became the first ingredient on the list.  Here is a quick and easy delicious recipe that you can customize to your own tastes.

2 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Cups of Corn Kernels
3 Roma Tomatoes Chopped
2 Cups cooked chicken breasts chopped into
   small strips.
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1/2 Bunch Cilantro (chopped)
1/2 Medium Onion finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Tajin or other chili seasoning to taste
Salt/Pepper to taste.

Place all ingredients in large soup pot and cook until all ingredients are completely cooked and flavors have blended. 

You can add other add ins as you like:  I love chopped avocado, more lime juice and some toasted corn tortilla strips.  But you can add more cilantro or hot sauce as you like.

Today was Pioneer Day here in Utah, and in spite of the fact that there was a major parade down Washington (the main drag here), the Taco Vendors still had two for one Taco Day!  Two for a dollar tacos happens every Wednesday and they are completely delightful, if a bit small.  It seems that what they call "street tacos" here are only about half the size of a normal taco, but they sure do pack the punch for flavor, and who can resist two delicious chicken/beef or pork yummies for $1!?  Not me!  And, apparently not a lot of other people from the length of the lines every Wednesday!

I did a bit of reading to see if I could discover exactly what Pioneer Days here in Utah is representative of (especially because the Utahn people seem to celebrate it with even more vigor than the Fourth).

I seems that this official Utah holiday which occurs every year on July 24th, commemorates the day that Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th, 1847.  Who knew?  On Pioneer Day some members of the Latter Day Saints actually walk portions of the Mormon Trail, or as you can see here, re-enact entering Salt Lake Valley by handcart.
There were many, many children and adults today in the street in the dress of the times and pushing and pulling the handcarts like those used all those years ago!  It was beautiful and moving.  Having lived here for only a month, I can only imagine the strength it took to cross those mountains and enter this beautiful valley.  They had no idea what they were getting into, and I am sure they suffered many hard times taming the land here.

Even though the holiday has strong links to the LDS history, it is a celebration of EVERYONE, regardless of faith and nationality, who immigrated to the Salt Lake Valley during the Pioneer Era, which is generally considered to have ended with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.  The Golden Spike was driven just a short (approx. 53 miles) distance from here at Promontory Summit, Utah.

The parade today embraced the many people and belief systems of the area and was attended by thousands.  There has been a Rodeo going on for several days which will culminate in a final blowout show tonight! 

Utahns are not only proud of their religious history, but of their agrarian one!  There farms surrounding us are lush and beautiful and supply everything from honey and raspberries to delicious sweet corn, Napa cabbage, Kale, Squash and tomatoes.  There are also beautiful Dairy Farms with well cared for cows and fresh milk.  Some of the barns in the area are so beautiful they are architecturally perfect!   Today we saw modern farm equipment as well as some really well-preserved old tractors and other farm equipment.  These people honor and cherish their heritage and aren't afraid to show it!

There were also dozens of beautifully restored old cars and trucks.  It was beautiful to see.

Then, of course there were the horses and Rodeo riders.  Skilled performers demonstrated their roping prowess, horses pranced and danced and even the Shriners showed up with their usual clowns and crazy bike riders.
 There was something for everyone who attended today.  Vendors selling everything from water to Cotton Candy and toys for the kids roamed the streets and the mood was very festive.  I was taken aback earlier this week when people started putting down tarps and blankets three days before the parade was to have happened.  I realized today that some of these people have done this for so many years that it has become a family tradition to reserve their little piece of territory along the parade route.

I am looking forward to the Rodeo tonight as I have never actually attended a Rodeo in the West and I understand this is one of the biggest and best.  There will be everything from "Mutton Busting" by kids under 10 years old, to bronc riding and bull riding.  I am anxious to share this with my two young granddaughters.  I hope they have as much fun as I am anticipating they will.

More later on that....for now, LOVE-PEACE & JOY!


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