Black bean mince tacos
Behind the school there’s a hill where the children play. Some will build forts, some will make a bridge over the slight ravine that leads to the hill or a dam for the creek that runs down the hill after a great rain, some will be content just to climb, and see how high they get, and look down on the world below them. In the winter the hill is bare and beautiful, with a ruddy light between the silvery sycamore trunks; in the summer it’s lush and green, and it’s harder to find your children behind the vines and brambles. When Malcolm was younger, he used to disappear over the top of the hill, and it made me so anxious. I like to joke that I can get up the hill, but I can’t get back down. Of course I could if I really needed to, but I’m not as nimble as these young mountain goats, with their fearlessness and their low centers of gravity. So I’d stand at the bottom and fret, and yell at poor Isaac if he ventured up the hill at all. It’s odd to think back to that time, now, because these days I don’t think twice about letting Malcolm go over the top of the hill. I still don’t know what it looks like up there, and for some reason that idea appeals to me. I like to think about Malcolm venturing to places I don’t go, and seeing what I can’t see. I like to think about his world growing and glowing in that way, rich and colorful in my imagination and his memory. When we go for walks, Malcolm’s always climbing and leaping and scampering to places I could but generally won’t go. On top of giant piles of rock or down a slippery river bank. It used to me taking pictures of him and these feats of derring-do. Lately he’s taken my phone with him, so that he can take a picture of the view from his angle, of the world as he sees it. The other day we walked along the abandoned train tracks to the south of town, and came to a train car bathed in ridiculously beautiful golden evening light. I took pictures from the outside, but Malcolm, of course, climbed in.
And then he asked for my phone and climbed the ladder to the odd-looking train car adjacent.
And he took a picture of what he saw there–the wild and beautiful evidence of kids decorating their own secret world, making their mark, claiming their space.
What Malcolm Saw
I’ve made black bean mince before, but I’d never used it in tacos. It makes so much sense! It’s almost like refried beans, but with more substance and texture and flavor. I added sage, oregano, cumin and smoked paprika, which made it very tasty. We ate it with basmati rice, warm tortillas, shredded lettuce, and grated sharp cheddar. It would be nice with avocado, salsa, cilantro, hot sauce…anything you like on a taco. It would also be good baked inside of enchiladas or burritos. Very easy, very quick, very cheap. I made mine with eggs, to give it more crumbly texture, but you could leave them out if you’re vegan and it will still taste good.
Here’s KRS One with Out for Fame.