Chicken Taco Diatribe

August 30, 2009

chicken tacoI’ve got a bone to pick, but it’s not with Martha. It’s with the grocery store.

Earlier in the week, I went grocery shopping and bought ingredients for a few Martha dishes. I specifically bought avocado so I could made Roasted Chicken Tacos (Martha Stewart Everyday Food, September). There was a nice selection of avocados and some were marked “ripe”. Now, from what I could tell, none seemed ripe to me, but the ones marked “ripe” were closer than some of the other cement footballs in the bin. I brought my avocado home and let it sit out in the fruit bowl with the bananas (known to help ripen fruit) for two days. Finally, I was desperate for something to make for dinner. I had to rule out a salmon dish with a corn/tomato/avocado relish since I didn’t have any corn. I ruled out a fontina and mushroom turkey meatloaf because I had no mushrooms. My choices were dwindling and so I went with the chicken tacos. The sticker on the avocado says “ripe,” I rationalized. It must be at least close to ripe. Wrong.

I had some leftover fried chicken so I used that in place of the roasted chicken. This recipe has very few ingredients – cilantro ( had to use dried which is no real substitute but I was desperate for a dish I could make), onion, salt and pepper, lime juice and salt and pepper, and tortillas.  And of course the cursed avocado. I tried to cut the avocado in half. It was so hard it would not separate in the center. I ended up peeling the skin off and cutting avocado off around the edges. It was just nasty. It was woody and pulpy and awful.  The entire dinner I muttered under my breath about the ridiculousness of labeling this as ripe! I find they do this with other things too – peaches, nectarines, plums, etc. There is usually a bin of regular ones, then one marked “ripe now,” but they never are actually ripe. Nor are they close to ripe.I understand ripe fruit has a short shelf life. I understand they have to pick things unripe to allow for transportation time. I do know the reasons. But it doesn’t change my frustration.

The whole thing made me cranky and grumbly. How far in advance must one buy avocados?

Anyway, we went ahead and ate these, but they were not great. Even if the avocado had been ripe I would have given this a thumb’s down. It just needed something – salsa, cheese, tomato, sour cream, lettuce. Anything at all really would have helped.  It was very blah and did not feel like anything close to a real meal.

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