Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We The Burrito*: Rice, a Little Cheese, and the Pursuit of Wrappiness

A Message From The Cocktail Party

It's the way the cheese melts all into the tangy rice, the way the meat gets all wrapped up in and coated with the saucy, spicy beans.  It's the contrasting cold crunch of lettuce against the soft, warm tortilla, the light acidity of tomato against the heavy sweet backdrop of crema. It's the bright, hot salsa that dances throughout. There's just something about a burrito.

A steak is nice. Done right**, steak can be quite delicious. But steak is always steak. It is a tasty, well-cut, well-prepared slice of cow. Which is fortunate, since each bite will taste essentially the same as the last.

It's hard to turn down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with it's whimsical play of nuttiness and fruitiness, but, then, it is also easy to get sick of them pretty quickly, too.

A burrito, however, with it's complex combinations of texture, temperature and tastes, is an engaging journey from one neatly folded end to the other. Each ingredient contained within is nice to eat, in it's own right. Together, though, they complement and enhance each other exponentially.

As you've, no doubt, deduced by this point, the burrito is also a clever analogy for multiculturalism. As I began this post, I was thinking mostly of my own country and it's past and continuing challenges on that score. A quick glance at today's New York Times, however, reminded me that, as with most human issues, it is not bound by man's arbitrary borders.

Each culture, each person, on our shared planet is a necessary ingredient, with unique properties to contribute, without which the whole would be poorer. It is proper to take pride in those contributions. They enrich the experience for everyone. At the same time, however, other contributors, with gifts necessarily different from your own, have their part to play as well. They, too, are aspects of the whole.

Whether you are white as rice, black as beans, red as tomatoes, or green as lettuce (huh?), we're all just one big burrito.

Today's exercise: Get wrapped up!

Next: Hopefully something less preachy. I shouldn't write these things when I'm hungry...

*NOTE: If you do not enjoy burritos, this metaphor works equally well as a casserole, submarine sandwich, bibimbap, spring roll, pizza, etc. as your imagination and Yum best dictate.

**Medium rare.

1 comment:

  1. Using basically the same ingredients, but with slightly different relationships and preparation style, you could be eating a soft-taco, enchilada, or any number of other Mexican delights - so multiculturalism doesn't have to be a "one sign can be read by all" situation. Definitely the entire package is required, but no one should demand that rice speak bean (sorry if that bites).