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Yucatan Pinto Bean And Squash Tacos by Gina M. Brown

Williamsburg, Michigan, US

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I studied the ruins at Chichen Itza during college and so was more than thrilled to visit it in person, back in the day when people were allowed to climb the ruins. This Mayan stepped pyramid, El Castillo, features a serpent at the base of the staircase. Twice a year, the sun casts a shadow of the steps perfectly onto the staircase wall, making the serpent appear to come alive. I decided that if the serpent only "lives" on those two days, he must be hungry! Since the pyramid steps reminded me of a taco holder, I thought I'd feed the serpent tacos. The recipe is based on a pinto bean and squash stew that we ate at a traditional Yucatan dinner as part of our bus ride to the ruins. The serpent won't go hungry on my watch!