Monday, October 5, 2009

Taco Scandal (Don't Let This Happen to You)

Tacos have become an American family staple. They’re inexpensive, can satisfy the masses (i.e., the work to make them is about the same whether you make five or 50) and even picky kids like tacos. For some families, tacos (in some variety — taco casserole, build your own, taco salad, etc.) are in the weekly meal rotation.

Given the widespread popularity of tacos, burritos and similar Tex-Mex dishes, I feel compelled to shed light on something. This news may strike you as unfair, sneaky and scandalous. You may be angry. You may feel betrayed. Be forewarned.

As a consumer and one who may cook for your family or significant other or roommate, you’ve probably scoped out the options for taco seasonings. You know the stuff; it’s a spicy/tangy powder that comes packaged in an envelope that’s about 5 x 7 inches. This envelope will season one pound of beef, chicken or pork. Ortega, store brand, Old El Paso, Taco Bell — these are some of your choices. Most packets run about $1.00.

Scour the shelves of your local grocer a little harder next time. Look for the plastic canister of taco seasoning pictured to the left. I hate to point this out, but I have to do it… this container of Ortega seasoning is about $4.00. And it contains THIRTY servings of taco seasoning. That’s enough to season THIRTY pounds of whatever taco meat you prefer, not to mention how many packaging waste it saves.

Let’s do the math. If you’re cooking for five people, you likely use one to one and a half packets of seasoning per taco meal you prep. If you make tacos 20 times in a year, that’s about $30 worth of taco seasoning (or about $1.50 per meal prepped). If you pick up one of these handy jars, you’ll be able to prepare the same amount of taco meat for about $4.00 (or $0.20) per meal prepped.

Over five years, you could in theory purchase $150 worth of taco seasoning. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t be taken advantage of. Buy your taco seasoning in bulk.