Tacos capture our imagination and inspire endless culinary riffs (ever had a bahn mi taco?). But just what is it that makes them so darn addictive? As Alex Stupak, a New York City chef and co-author of the James Beard-nominated cookbook Tacos, says, “the journey starts with a good foundation: the tortilla.”

It was, in fact, a freshly made tortilla that changed the course of Stupak’s life. Already fascinated with Mexican flavors and cuisine, this tortilla led him to chuck a high-profile pastry career at mega-important restaurants like Alinea and WD-50, and open a taqueria in the Big Apple.

So yes, a good foundation (be it a corn tortilla or a crisp shell) is a must, but from there tacos are infinitely customizable. The snack, which can go high (fancy fillings!) or low (divey taco truck), is easy to eat, generally inexpensive, and unlike most foods, can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—even dessert.

Tacos, you could say, are a way of life, and on Wednesday, June 22 at 6 p.m., Kevin Morrison of Denver’s Pinche Tacos and I’ll discuss why. As a reference point, pick up a copy of Stupak’s cookbook from the library, buy it at the Tattered Cover, cook from it, and come ready to discuss.

Next up: August is canning season and we’re talking jam with Kathy Lee of Modern Gingham Preserves. ”Not just for toast.” That’s what Lee has to say about jam. And indeed, the condiment has come a long way from Smuckers. You could even say jam is having a moment: it’s sweet and savory (ever tasted tomato-vanilla?); it’s stirred into cocktails; it’s pumped up with spirits; it’s served with cheese. Lee joins me on Wednesday, August 17 at 6 p.m. to discuss the glory of jam (and how to get better at making it!). Check out the jammers’ bible—The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders—to go along with our discussion.

Free, 6 p.m., Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library, 305 Milwaukee St., 720-865-0120

Bonus: We at 5280 spent weeks gorging ourselves on tacos to determine the city’s best offerings. We found 52—one for each week of the year.

Double Bonus: Head to Top Taco, the annual taco throwdown, on Thursday, June 23, and feast and drink to your heart’s content.

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.