Navajo Flea Market

Our first visitor to Gallup (of many, I'm sure) has arrived. Rachel's mom Jean came in around lunchtime, and members of the McLaughlin home were recovered at least enough for a brief cultural foray. On the north edge of Gallup, off the previously named Hwy 666, there is a Navajo Flea Market every Saturday, which is apparently of such a magnitude that there is nothing else like it in the Navajo Nation (which is probably the size of Michigan or so).

So we wanted to check it out and grab some Navajo lunch. We had thought that Wal-Mart was the most extensive retail outlet around here (and the Wal-Mart is huge), but the flea market wins when it comes to selection of used tires, prepared food, dried chilies, puppies, or concert tickets to Grand Funk Railroad.
It was fun to browse, but we were there for food, specifically Navajo tacos, which Jason Fader says are his favorite food ever. We found them at a totally classic stand. Needless to say, we were the only white people there. The kitchen was in a trailer (pictured below), and the chef had a t-shirt that read "All my heroes have killed Cowboys". We sat on old folding tables, and there was a Coleman camp stove nearby for a reason we never discovered. Rachel noted that the next table had a scene which much resembled the Don on the day of his daughter's wedding. We didn't pry.

The Navajo taco was wonderful, and huge. The entire tray above is one taco split into two. It's beans, cheese, lettuce, on Navajo fry bread, which is sort of like sopapillas (for fans of Mexican food) or elephant ears (for fans of midwestern state fairs).

But this was far from the only unique culinary experience available for the trying. We had to save the tamales, pinons, and mutton stews for future visits. However, we couldn't pass up Blue Corn Mush. That's the actual name, and if you click on the topmost picture, you can see the neon green sign advertising it.

I asked the really nice lady at the stand what it was. She said it was blue corn that's been mushed. Aha... You also have to add cedar ashes, and the sugar or salt as you prefer, served up hot. It was quite good with sugar. It tasted like Cream of Wheat, but more mushy, and I think I can imagine the taste of cedar ashes (?).

All in all, a brilliant cultural outing to combat the stir-craziness that comes from caring for a sick family and working a lot.