It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
Moon’s so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right
(Mexico, James Taylor)
The year of 1974 marks one of the most important events of my life: I went to the US as an exchange student. The experiences I had the opportunity to live in the small and wonderful town of Carthage/MO with the Ross family (Larry, Gail, Don, Shellie and Billy), and where I got my high school degree at the class of ’75, have left permanent marks on my personality and abilities.
I’d like here to mention two of these experiences:
First – I was introduced to the music of James Taylor, of whom I became a huge fan. Playing his songs on my guitar after I’ve returned to Brazil made me score some extra points with the local girls, including with my actual wife Maristela. The few words at the beginning of this post are from “Mexico”, a song from his 1975 album “Gorilla” (my favorite one is “Sweet Baby James”, from 1970).
Second – I had my first contact with Mexican food. My wonderful and unforgettable American mother (Gail) prepared a very nice “chili con carne”, which we would eat with hard shelled tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. To this day we still prepare a variation of that dish, which has been incorporated in our regular menus at home. I say it’s a variation because I have changed the original recipe along the time, incorporating new spices and changing proportions to better suit my personal taste. In fact I don´t even know if Gail´s recipe was really Mexican.
My “chili con carne” recipe you can find at Foodista (see the link below).
When I have this dish my memories of Carthage and of the James Taylor’s song just seem to come alive and, as he says, “make everything alright“.
How authentic is this dish when compared to the real Mexican deal? I have no idea, as I’ve never been to Mexico, nor to any respectable Mexican restaurant. That’s one of the reasons I’m preparing myself to make a trip to Mexico, probably next October or November.
As James Taylor says in his song:
Oh, down in Mexico
I never really been so I don’t really know
I guess I’ll have to go.