Thursday, October 22, 2009

Captain Underpants: Stinky Taco Surprise

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey is, let's be honest here, an awesome book.  I took it out of the library to read for my Children's Literature class and strongly recommended ("insisted" is such a negative word) that my aunt and uncle read it, too.  Despite initial hesitation - scatalogical humor is not to their taste - both of them read and enjoyed the book.  I caught my aunt laughing out loud when she saw that our main characters - George and Harold - were having Stinky Taco Surprise for lunch.  (And they both loved the Flip-O-Rama pages.)

I had to make Stinky Taco Surprise.  There was no question.  So I needed to figure out exactly what would be in such a dish that made it so stinky.  (Yes, my friends, these are the questions that keep me awake at night.)  Onions, of course.  But that's not enough.  What else smells so strongly?  Bad fish?  Unsafe for consumption.  Feet?  That doesn't even make sense.  Garlic?  In tacos? Well, maybe, but not what I was looking for.  At last, I had it - stinky cheese!

I made the tacos the usual way, but instead of cheddar and lettuce, I used red onions and smelly blue cheese.  And they were wonderful.  I guess that's the surprise - smelled iffy, but tasted great (okay, that's a cop-out.  I seriously considered adding bacon as a surprise but it just didn't need it).

I have to say, I feel silly telling you all how to make tacos.  Like you don't already know.  And obviously, this can be customized to suit your personal tastes.

Stinky Taco Surprise
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 package taco seasoning, and whatever else it says on the package you need (such as water)
Taco shells - the one pound of meat made me 6 average-sized tacos
1 onion, sliced
Blue cheese crumbles
Additional toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, or pico de gallo

1. Brown the ground beef and drain; prepare taco seasonings as directed on the package.  (Note: I usually make my own taco seasoning, since it's cheaper and has less sodium to do it that way.  If anyone is interested in that recipe, let me know and I'll post it.)
2. Fill the taco shells with taco meat and add onion slices, blue cheese crumbles, and additional toppings.  For the photo, I used pico de gallo because it's pretty and I enjoy it, and it was my dinner after I took pictures.  If you think it's easy explaining that "I can't eat right now, I need to photograph my food first," chances are that you haven't done it recently.
3. Enjoy with whatever side dishes you like.  I had Spanish rice with mine, and it was very tasty.

As a variation, this would be quite tasty as a Frito Pie.

I suppose this post was not so much the recipe for stinky tacos as the idea to make them, but that's ok.  Not everything I do will be exciting.  Indeed, much of my life is rather dull.

On a somewhat-related topic, I'm wondering what people think of giving Captain Underpants to students.  I have always been of the school of thought that, if you give a person a book they enjoy, then they will enjoy reading, and that's a good thing.  Even if you personally don't like the book, you realize that other people do and that's that, right?  For example, I am the biggest anti-fan of Twilight, but if I see a student returning the book, I'd chase them down and give them New Moon.

I recently learned that a classmate of mine has a different philosphy; she doesn't allow her students to read Captain Underpants or Shel Silverstein poems or anything like that, because they're not valuable academically.  "If you let your kids read Shel Silverstein," she told my class, "they'll never want to read any real poetry."  I didn't say anything because it confused me to no end.  What do you think?


  1. A light in the attic and Where the sidewalk ends is the only poetry I know.

    All the "real" poetry didn't speak to me. Mostly because it's in "ancient" languages thats hard to understand. Most of the frustration comes from not knowing the words.

    I love the Star Wars extended universe books. Harry Potter books are among the best ever written I think, and is the longest book series I've ever read. I'm not that big a fan of twilight, but if a person likes it then you have to nurture that interest.

    Human beings do not enjoy something they "have" to do...just look at the vast majority of working adults who hate their jobs.

  2. Gasp! Quelle horreur! I think that as long as the kids are reading, that's the important thing. As a fellow future librarian and in the interests of honesty, I will admit to reading nothing but Marvel comics as my literature of choice for years. It did not deaden my appreciation of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens or even Will Shakespeare. It made me a more rounded person. I must also mention that the aforementioned authors weren't considered "real" or academically valuable in their own eras. They were considered cheap and common (sort of on the same lines as comic books) and only later gained status as "classic literature."