I could scarcely believe it. Why, it was hardly American, not to love it like that. To skip it right over, to pass it right up. To go for the boring instead.
On the Yoder side, we devoured it. Drove miles and miles across the flat Kansas prairie to eat Mexican food. We’d empty bowls of salsa, nearly licking them clean before tackling a table of tacos, burritos and chimichangas. Drenched, of course, in salsa.
Forget Einstein and his theory. I had my own. “The hotter, the better.” That’s how that went, and the sweat on my brow told the tale.
A friend of ours theorized like this — if his scalp tingled and his nose ran, he knew it was right. Knew he’d nailed the JPSI (jalapenos per square inch) ratio. Diff’rent strokes, diff’rent folks and all that.
Anyway, it wasn’t just us. Amongst the greater tribe of Jacob (that was my granddad), there numbered a fair lot of fine folks who loved the tongue-tingling taste of Mexican cuisine. And they’d bring it to gatherings where spicy intermingled with sweet on holiday smorgasbords.
Whether the penchant for the pow was related to the perk and sass of the red hair in our clan was uncertain. What was certain is that tacos, burritos and JPSI ratios were unknown quantities on the other side of the fence. There, they favored Italian, devouring spaghetti by the pot, lasagna by the roaster and garlic bread by the wheelbarrow.
Then Italiano met Mexicano. In other words, Mr. Schrock and I started dating. Eager to please, he’d trot happily along to our favorite place (Chi-Chi’s), only to come home and upend a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, thanks to the twisting and turbulence in his touchy tummy.