1. Dad longs for a plate piled with spicy carne asada, accompanied by a frosty Negro Modelo, instead of fruity-flavored tea. He wonders why that guac at the other end of the table tastes vaguely like smashed peas. If only his mom was still able to cook…
2. Flour tortillas, an attempt to cling to tradition, even though they are store-bought, zipper-bagged and ready to cook on the comal.
3. Mom sits next to an empty space where the frijoles used to be. Now that everyone’s watching their carbs, what’s the point of cooking them?
4. Nopales, on the table in deference to Abuela, who believes her dinners (made from scratch), were better.
5. Abuela looks up at her handsome son, patting his arm and hoping her daughter-in-law sees how much she appreciates him.
6. Aguacates are served because the wife, who can’t afford Botox injections, read somewhere the green fruit is good for the skin.
7. Cheese, which the 6-year-old demands to have at least twice daily, the more proccessed, the better.
8. Working mom proudly serves store-roasted chickens, glazed with mole-from-a-box, accompanied by 10-minute microwaveable vegetables. Rachel Ray, eat your heart out.
9. Whole-wheat flour tortillas, so that the teen vegetarian won’t feel guilty… and neither will her bowels.
10. Kindergartener, 6, sits next to Mom, refusing to eat vegetables because, “They’re icky!”
11. Teenager, 15, has decided carne is not for her, but finds inspiration in “soyquitos.” She loves that mom mixes the guacamole with edamame, though.
12. Southwest salsa made with corn and beans, served in a bowl so that Abuela won’t know it’s just from a jar.
13. College student realizes there are two roasted chickens and imagines taking leftovers back to his dorm to share with his roommates, passing them off as his own recipes.