Culture

Amazon’s Tacos Al Pastor Meal Kit Doesn’t Include A Taquero Slicing Piña From A Spit

Hey! Yeah, you. You’re familiar with tacos al pastor, yes?

CREDIT: The Departed / Warner Bros.

If you get them at your usual neighborhood spot, they probably look a little something like this:

CREDIT: randyedwards / Flickr

Beautiful, savory chunks of marinated pork with cilantro and onions.

But they’re really good when you can get ’em from a taquero who has a trompo:

CREDIT: Alex Kartouche / YouTube

Look at the flick of the wrist. Watching the taquero slice a sliver of pineapple and catching it with the other hand is always fun, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Guess what? Amazon is now selling tacos al pastor in a box. Seriously.

Credit: Amazon

You’re probably thinking:

CREDIT: Credit: Universal Pictures

 The tacos, which serve two people, are part of Amazon’s recently-launched meal kits, which are being tested in select cities, such as Seattle.

CREDIT: Credit: Amazon

Here is what’s in the box:

CREDIT: Credit: Amazon

The meal kits, which range from $14 to $18, are portioned out for two people and, according to Amazon, there is minimal prep required aside from marinating and cooking the meat.

And here’s the beauty shot of the finished product:

CREDIT: Credit: Amazon

This is the description of the product:

“Characterized by ultra-thinly sliced pork that’s spiced up with chipotle pepper, brightened by the sweetness of seared pineapple, and made decadent by a rich Northern Mexican cow’s milk cheese, every bite is a delightful surprise on the palate.”

OK, a few thoughts: the tortillas de harina and the queso quesadilla make this more of a gringa” de al pastor, which is pretty fitting considering it’s being sold by Amazon. Also, judging by this photo, no one told whoever created the meal kit that radishes and pickled jalapeños are usually eaten on the side, not in the taco. The shredded cabbage is a puzzling since these aren’t fish tacos and the pico de gallo probably goes best with the chips, but I’m not going to completely judge how people choose to eat their tacos because I put pickle juice on french fries.

It would just make a little more sense if I saw tortillas de maiz, cilantro, onion, pineapple and some salsa. Something like this:

CREDIT: liopic / Flickr

But, unless Amazon includes one of these in its meal kits, chances are those tacos won’t ever come close to what you’d get from your favorite taco spot. 

Credit: Amazon

So, what do you think?

Quiz: We Can Tell If You Take Red Salsa Or Green Salsa On Your Tacos

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The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

Entertainment

The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

Roger Kisby / Fotógrafo autónomo / Getty Images

¡Mi gente! Your faves could never. Latin music domination continues around the world with the top spots of global streaming platforms being stacked with Latinx artists. What a time to be alive. Remember when we all had to pretend Drake was Dominican to get some kind of representation out here? But when you think about the sheer number of people on the planet that speak Spanish, it totally makes sense that Latinx artists would have such a massive reach. 

And let’s be real, while fluency helps, you really don’t have to be proficient to enjoy reggaeton. The energetic, pulsating beats can compel anyone to move. Do you really think everyone in the United States knew the English translation of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” in order to enjoy it? Music transcends language and so does Colombian trap artist J Balvin apparently. Do you think anyone even noticed that the lyrics in “Harlem Shake” are largely in Spanish? Nope. 

J Balvin is here to stay.

For six consecutive weeks, J Balvin has chopped the global charts on YouTube. That’s a total of 1.26 billion views on the platform. 

“Artista más visto en YouTube Global,” Balvin wrote in an Instagram caption.

This comes as no surprise to Balvin fans. In 2018, Balvin ousted drake as the most-streamed artist worldwide on Spotify. The singer surpassed 48 million monthly listeners last summer thanks to his single “X” with Nicky Jam which streamed over 327 million times. Balvin is in great company on the global charts with Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna all in the top 10. The trio’s single “China” with Anuel AA and Karol G is currently number 1 on the YouTube global charts and number 2 in the United States chart. However, we’re pleased to note that “Señorita” by Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes is topping the charts in the states. 

Balvin shouts out his Latinx fans. 

“Artista más escuchado en el mundo en @spotify posición #1 que celebro con todos mis latinos y los soñadores. Gracias Gracias Gracias,” Balvin wrote in the caption. 

Our boy is famous basically everywhere?

The top countries streaming Balvin’s music are Mexico with 240 million views, Argentina with 121 million views, and Colombia with 121 million views. The United States is in fourth place with 112 million views, followed by Spain, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela. But fear not, Balvin has fans in at least 100 different countries according to YouTube. 

We stan a humble king of the masses!

Like, literally could you imagine how this level of adoration and attention would completely warp your mind? I would be a monster. I would build a house out of fan mail and then set it ablaze just to laugh at my stupid fans. I’d have so many, who cares! Meanwhile, the artist, who typically regales his followers with personal messages on Instagram every morning at 5 a.m., knows how to connect with his fans. Balvin even served ordinary people from a coffee cart in New York City the other day. 

“Buenos días , buenos días , buenos días !!!!! ARCOÍRIS TOUR empieza 30 de Agosto en Puerto Rico !! Choliseo,” he wrote on Instagram. 

 We stan a humble king of the masses!

This isn’t the first Latin wave (and it won’t be the last).

In the 1990s, the late and great Selena catapulted Tejano and Cumbia music into the mainstream American consciousness. This ushered in the era of the “Latin Explosion” where legends were born. Ricky Martin, Thalía, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer Lopez made their marks. Hell, even Frank Sinatra personally invited Luis Miguel to record a duet of “Come Fly With Me” on his 1994 album Duets II. 

In the 2000s, there was the “Latin Pop Boom” that saw the likes of Shakira, Paulina Rubio, and Christina Aguilera topping the charts. You may even remember non-Latinx artists trying to ride the wave with Beyoncé collaborating with Shakira on the duet, “Beautiful Liar,” and releasing a Spanish language version of the single “Irreplaceable.” It almost feels odd to call these decades different waves or eras when it is pretty clear Latinxs have been consistently rocking the charts since Gloria Estefan in the 1980s. Since then, in the United States, we have been blessed with many more Latinx acts including the likes of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Becky G, and Cardi B. And of course, there are all the amazing imports from Latinx countries around the world. If we want to continue this Latinx chart domination, I only have one piece of advice: stream “China” by J. Balvin on YouTube and Spotify!

There’s A Deadly Fungus Spreading Across Latin America That Could Wipe Out The Banana Forever

Culture

There’s A Deadly Fungus Spreading Across Latin America That Could Wipe Out The Banana Forever

Jametlene Reskp / Unsplash

Did you wake up and eat a banana for breakfast this morning? Straight out of the peel? Or maybe you chopped it up into a few pieces and tossed it into a smoothie or over a bowl of cereal?  

Or maybe your abuelita fried a few up and served them with some crema and a side of rice and frijoles? 

Bananas are a staple food item around the world. In fact, we consume around 114 millions tons of them every single year. So you can imagine why many people are freaking out over recent news that a banana killing fungus has taken hold. It could literally spell the end for our beloved banana. 

A deadly fungus has infested banana crops across Colombia.

Bad news for banana lovers: A fungus that’s particularly adept at killing the fruit has finally reached Latin America — a major supplier of the world’s bananas — as scientists long feared it would.

Recently, officials in Colombia declared a national emergency after confirming the presence of this deadly fungus, known as Fusarium oxysporum Tropical Race 4 (TR4), in the country, according to the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA)

This is the first time the fungus has been detected in Latin America. However, the fungus isn’t new — for decades, it has been devastating banana plantations in Asia, Australia and East Africa.

This is potentially devastating news because Latin America was one of the few remaining fungus-free regions in the world.

Although this fungus isn’t harmful to humans, it is a “serious threat” to banana production, according to the United Nations. The fungus attacks the plant’s roots and blocks its vascular system — the network used to transport water and nutrients — and ultimately kills the plant. Once the fungus finds its way into soil, it can’t be treated with fungicides, and it’s very difficult to remove.

So what does this mean for the fruit so many of us have come to enjoy?

Well, the fungus attacks the most commonly exported banana, the Cavendish banana. “For Western countries, the vast majority of the bananas we eat are from the same Cavendish subgroup,” Nicolas Roux, a senior scientist at Bioversity International in France, told Live Science in a June interview.

“What we’re having is an almost apocalyptic scenario where we’ll probably lose Cavendish [banana]” Sarah Gurr, Exeter University’s chair in food security, told Wired in an interview.

Also, side note, the Cavendish bananas which are what most of us buy in the supermarket, are literal clones of one another.

Cavendish bananas reproduce asexually, meaning that the plants are essentially clones of their parents. This means banana crops lack genetic diversity, and infections can spread quickly. That’s not weird at all. 

Virtually every supermarket banana in the world is a Cavendish, a strain chosen for its hardiness and easy cultivation. In the 1950s, it replaced the Gros Michel, a comparable banana that was all but wiped out by the soil-dwelling fungus Panama disease. Also known as Fusarium fungus, the blight blackens bananas from the inside out. Once it’s infected a plantation, its fruit is toast. Even decades after bananas have gone, the spores hang around in the soil, with the potential to re-infect crops all over again.

Colombia is just the most recent outbreak. This fungus has been wreaking havoc globally for years.

For the past 30 years, the fungus has wreaked havoc on banana plantations in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Now, Colombia’s agriculture and fishing institute has declared a national emergency after the fungus was found in the northeastern province of La Guajira in June. Nearly 170 hectares (420 acres) of plantations have since been quarantined

So what’s the plan? How will we save the banana? 

A number of ideas have been proposed to help save the Cavendish banana, including genetically engineering plants that are resistant to TR4. Meanwhile, researchers are trying desperately to find a new kind of banana that can survive Tropical Race 4.

Scientists in Australia have created a fungus-resistant variety using genetic engineering. It’s still being tested and would require government approval before it could be grown or sold. 

Other scientists are looking through nature’s storehouse. Unfortunately, 80% of banana fruits are susceptible to TR4. And none of the fungus-resistant plants are ready to replace the bananas that currently fill supermarket shelves. Most of them are cooking bananas, or plantains. Others are wild bananas with tiny fruit that’s inedible; the pods are full of seeds.

The hope, however, is that plant breeders can take these plants and cross-pollinate them, mating them with other, more commercially viable bananas, reshuffling the genes to create new varieties that are both delicious and immune to TR4.

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