Friday, March 31, 2017

Cat food in the beef tacos? Or just nitwit nonsense from the nativists?

Perhaps I’m just taking trivial trash on Facebook far too seriously. But I have been getting outraged by a page meant to celebrate a pair of neighborhoods on the city’s Far South Side that has turned into a rant about the content of Mexican food.
The building still stands. The food does not. But some still feel compelled to take the cheap shots. Photograph provided by the Smokin', Chokin' and Chowin' with the King weblog.

The page in question is meant to give people a chance to share their memories of the South Chicago and East Side neighborhoods – which are the ones in I was born and which I still have some relatives living.

THERE IS ONE stream of thought now existing on the page that talks of the Mexican Inn – that triangular shaped restaurant at 95th Street, Ewing Avenue and Avenue L – not far from that open bridge the Blues Brothers leaped over in that 1980 film.

The thread has been out there for months. But in the past couple of weeks, there are those individuals who have felt compelled to inform us that the restaurant used cat food in the preparation of its tacos and other Mexican (actually, more Tex-Mex than real Mexicano) food.

While some people say it wasn’t cat food as much as real-live kitties being cooked up in preparation of the Mexican dishes.

When some (actually many) people felt compelled to post items saying that such stories were nonsense, there were responses from the few insisting that EVERYBODY in the neighborhood knew all about this. It just had to be true!

PERSONALLY, I HAVE always known there are some people who are nit-witted enough to want to believe stupid stuff and tall tales, particularly if it is something hateful about another group. Perhaps their own lives are lacking that they feel the need to trash someone else to make themselves feel better?

And yes, the idea that some people are pathetic enough to want to rant about anything Mexican in nature is not a surprise. Particularly since the names of the individuals who were spewing these feline tales seemed to be (by my judgement, at least) Polish or Italian.

Probably people who voted for Donald Trump (17.05 percent of the 10th Ward’s presidential vote last year went for The Donald, with some precincts exceeding 40 percent) and are upset about his recent political defeats on various issues.

But seriously, who feels compelled to spread old rumors and rubbish about a restaurant that – while an iconic part of life in the 10th Ward – has been out-of-business for several years?

THERE ARE THOSE who say the Mexican Inn (which dated back to the early 1960s) was one of the first Mexican-inspired restaurants in Chicago, and it lasted several years into the 21st Century.

I know some people of a certain generation (in their 60s or early 70s, and NOT of any Spanish-speaking ethnic orientation) who say the first time they ever ate a taco in their lives was at the Mexican Inn!

But while the building remains and there are some faint traces of the paint on the outside walls that used to advertise the restaurant, the food service has been long gone.

Even the more contemporary restaurant that the family tried opening in Dyer, Ind., has since gone out of business. From what I hear, many people felt the new restaurant was “too expensive,” although many of those people struck me as being cheap and complaining in the way that some can’t get over the fact that a Chicago Tribune no longer costs a quarter the way it did when I was in high school – and is actually now $1.99 per copy!

PERSONALLY, I REMEMBER eating there as a kid. Both when my family was still city-residing proper, and later when we had gone suburban (Lansing and Calumet City, to be exact) and made trips back to the city to “visit grandma” or other cousins.

In my mind, the Mexican Inn is a place where I could get some basic Mexican food. I have since found restaurants offering much more elaborate Mexican cuisine, but that doesn’t degrade the “Inn’s” memory to me. Which is why I hadn’t been there in years, and must admit to being shocked when I learned a couple of years ago that it was gone.

But other people, it seems, are pathetic enough to want to spread the trash talk. They’re not happy enough that the restaurant no longer exists – they have to piddle on its memory.

Although from my perspective, all they have really done is forgotten to unzip their pants first – leaving the equivalent of a wet spot all over the front of their trousers.


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