Through some quirk of genetics, I am a Liberal and the rest of my family are all Conservatives. They aren't simply politely right-of-center to my civil left-of-center. Our politics are whole hog, opposite ends of the spectrum, full bipolar family dysfunction. My mother still believes that my genetics and blood line are pure, and that I simply contracted my liberalism like some bad disease from my days of living in Boston. True to her conservative roots, deep in her heart, she blames Ted Kennedy. Not that I ever interacted with Ted, or any of the Kennedys for that matter, but in my family, the Kennedys are pretty much the epicenter of liberal waywardness and I was apparently sucked into the vortex while I lived in Boston. She's never quite gotten over it.
For most families this kind of political disparity would be no big deal, but mine is a family where politics is the lifeblood of our discourse. In other words, if we aren't talking politics, we aren't talking. Of course, as soon as we start talking politics--well, we stop talking. Actually, first we quit listening, then we start shouting, someone will storm out of the room, and THEN we stop talking. Everyone in my family knows that the best way to attack your opponent's position is to simly become more righteously entrenched in your own. It's kind of a problem.
And so it is that I come to family events with a sort of trepidation. Or so it was--at least with respect to my brother, Bob. Don't get me wrong. We've had our share of knock-down drag out fights. One in which he defended the intelligence of Sarah Palin comes to mind, but I promised I wouldn't go there again. We're never going to agree on politics, and the odds are better than even that we're still going to try and change each other's minds--likely with predictable and disastrous consequences. Somewhere, however, between the stand-offs and cold stares we discovered in our love for each other a shared love of making good food to share with good people. He loves my Caesar salad, and big surprise given this title, I love his breakfast burritos. And no surprise, we both know that even though I'm an empty-headed commie pinko and he's a right-wing nut job, we are both very good people.
Brother Bob's Breakfast Burritos
1. Turn off NPR. Turn off Fox News. Detente is a wonderful thing, but it is fragile. You can definitely put on the Beatles. It's pretty hard to get jazzed up over politics with John Lennon crooning "All you need is love" in the background.
2. Peel 3 large baking potatoes; dice into small 1/4' inch cubes.
3. Similarly dice one medium-sized onion. Fry the potatoes and onions in a large cast iron skillet, well oiled, and at medium heat. We're going for a hash-brown like filling here, but it takes time. Every 3--4 minutes turn, actually scrape, the mixture from the bottom of the pan with a heavy-duty metal spatula, and press the newly turned/scraped potatoes down into the pan with the back-side of the spatula. You may have to sporadically add a little extra oil as you go. Don't use one of those plastic namby-pamby socialist spatulas made for environmentally sensitive non-stick pans. These are potatoes made by a Republican. You want a spatula that George Patton would be proud of:
5. Season as you go with salt and pepper, particularly the pepper--they should have a little kick.
6. In a separate pan, saute on medium-low heat sliced onion and sliced bell peppers. At the risk of letting my liberalism sneak in, the peppers can be any color.
7. Don't forget to keep turning those potatoes. Eventually the onion will carmelize and the potatoes will be soft throughout with a hardened brown crust on the outside.
8. Assemble the following each in separate serving bowls: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and salsa.
9. Beat a dozen eggs in a large mixing bowl. Scramble the eggs by heating in a large non-stick pan or well-oiled skillet. Wait until the eggs are just set, and stir frequently until cooked throughout.
9. Heat in another skillet, or microwave, several tortillas shells. I question whether anyone from south of the border would really microwave a tortilla, but this is America, gosh darn it, and they should learn to do things OUR way.
10. Take one heated tortilla shell and stuff it with eggs, potatoes, onions, peppers, cheese sour cream, and salsa. Roll it up and enjoy. And just like the planks in either national party's platform, you are free to skip or ignore any of these filling options.
So there you have it. Amazing how something as simple as a breakfast burrito could forge a bond and build a bridge over political impass. Mr. Speaker? Mr. President? Can I get you a burrito?