Food and Family
The newest food selections on Tap In Pub’s menu have a flavorful flair described as Sonoran-style Mexican, a border-cooking approach that is rarely found outside of Copper Country, Arizona’s Globe-Miami region. Roughly 75 miles east of Phoenix, long-standing family recipes were heavily influenced by the nearby Mexican border and the needs of post-WWII copper miners in Arizona.
After serving with the 158th Infantry known as the Bushmasters, a regiment greatly composed of Native Americans from as many as 20 tribes, Mae Calamos’ father returned to Arizona to start his family. Work was sparse, particularly for Native Americans in the mid-1940s, so he relocated his young, growing family some two hours away from their Tribal land to Copper Country where Native Americans were readily hired for the difficult and dangerous work in the mines.
In Sonoran-style cooking, longstanding Mexican recipes were frequently adapted to use ingredients available in the local, Arizona desert landscape, as well as to be portable for the miners and affordable to feed their oft-struggling families.
The cooking style is recognized by its tightly wrapped burros – call it a burrito and it’s a give-away that it’s not from Copper Country – filled, wrapped and sometimes fried to maintain its shape and hold its filling.
The signature Crispy Taco also was prepared with the miners’ lunch boxes in mind. Its toppings and fillings traditionally are limited to beef and beans seasoned with chiles and other flavors, fried to stay intact when eating on the go, and occasionally topped with a bit of lettuce or a slice of tomato.
One might even call the Crispy Taco the original “walking taco” that uses house-made, hand-rolled tortillas – and certainly not a bag of chips. Mae calls it her family’s “comfort food.”