Let me describe the #3 plate at every local authentic Mexican restaurant 50 years ago. Imagine an oval, particularly thick ceramic plate being hustled over straight out of an oven, so hot it can only be delivered with a potholder and a warning to never, ever touch - it's a hot, hot plate each recipient, individually, will be told - that is set down a distance from the edge of the table so it won't burn chest hairs or whatever, and the clothes in between. The refried beans are gurgling, and the "Spanish" rice is reconstituting into its dry grain state, the peas and carrot chunks mutating away from the vegetable category, and the red sauce of the enchiladas is bubbling, the yellow and white cheese topping still sizzling from being on the verge of burning. Wait long enough so the plate can be handled. Then, go on, tip it sideways. Tip it upside down. Toss it to practice dexterity, letting it roll over and over, and catch it. Spin it on a finger like a top, food side down, or roll it on its edge across a long banquet table. Yes, the tablespoon of shredded iceberg lettuce and that thin, very thin slice of a too-green red tomato - colorful garnish - that nobody ever eats anyway, both of them wilted and dehydrated, will fall off. But the rest? Nope. It's a Mexican Frisbee!
And where's the politics, you may well ask? Why, right here:
Taco Bell is to Mexican food what the Bush administration is to Leadership and ethical governance.