Gas Station Food
Today I can celebrate because it’s National Taco Day, and what better place to do so than in San Antonio, the land of tacos. Well, the three-hundred-year-old city’s full of missions, and has a great Riverwalk, too, but everywhere you turn, you see tacos. With corn tortillas, of course, because that’s how we roll down here. You’ve got the Al Pastor with the marinated pork, onions, and pineapple, the Barbacoa with spiced, slow-cooked beef, and my favorite, the Shrimp with shredded cabbage and a cilantro-lime crema.
Oh yeah, I’m heading for the nearest taco truck as soon as I get this posted.
Tacos are the ultimate, on-the-go food. You find them everywhere, even in gas stations here in Texas. Not just the pre-packaged kind that always look a bit sketchy, like that egg salad sandwich in plastic triangle packaging with its too-yellow egg stripe in-between too-white slices of bread. No, in a lot of Texas’s in-the-middle-of-nowhere towns the gas station has a full-service food nook with folks in the back preparing all kinds of fillings for tacos and burritos. Whatever you grab in tightly wrapped tin foil, you know it doesn’t need a “consume by” date because it was made fresh within the last few hours.
Yes, south Texas gas station tacos and breakfast burritos put all other convenience store foods to shame. I feel sorry for my main character in Daughter of the South Wind, because while chasing tornados in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and the Dakotas, Dawn didn’t get to experience this manna from heaven whenever she did a grab-n-go grub-run as her team filled up the NADOMAN van with gas. No, the best she might have had was a lukewarm corn dog, its rubbery exterior four times the bulk of a very thin hotdog encased inside. Or, a prepackaged sandwich, the bun devoid of any sauce to make it chewable, with an unidentifiable but salty type of lunchmeat and one limp leaf of lettuce, its edges dark in the first stages of rot.
Poor Dawn, all that tornado chasing and not one Texas taco to cheer her up. But then, she was living her dream, so I guess the sorry gas station food was an even trade for the awesomeness of watching nature’s fury unfold before her eyes.
As for me, well, I’m a bit spoiled now I’ve lived here in Texas for a few years. It’d have to be one hell of a show for me to give up shrimp tacos for a stale corndog.
To see more about Dawn's dream job chasing tornados, as well as her dreams OF tornados, check out Daughter of the South Wind available as an Amazon e-book or in Kindle Unlimited.