You’ve seen them, you’ve eaten them. They’re practically a staple at every potluck and wingding, right? Layers of meat, cheese, and lettuce rolled up tightly in a tortilla, then cut to reveal a pretty pinwheel design. But do you remember when these burst onto the culinary scene?
I shall tell you. It was a cold and rainy day. I take that back. It was a hot and sultry day. We were living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the wasps were out. But these were not the wasps I was used to, that build nests high up under the eaves. These were sneakier ones. Digger wasps. They had built nests in the ground by our sidewalk! Every evening, just as neighbors were strolling by, they would come zooming out in their yellow-and-black bomber jackets and terrorize the public. We tried every safe method we could think of to eradicate them.
And then the phone rang. When I answered, I thought I heard a woman say, “Hello, this is Shirley Pennington from the Iowa Bee Council.”
Oh, no! We’re being sued! And fined! Someone got stung and reported us!
It took a few minutes of “Who’s on First” conversation for me to learn that Shirley wasn’t from the Bee Council; she was from the BEEF Council. Well, that’s a cow of a different color entirely.
Turns out I was a finalist in the state’s Beef Cookoff! And my creation? Savory Beef and Cheese Rollups.
I had just started entering cooking contests and was thrilled. My buddy, Deniece Schofield, drove with me to Des Moines where I won, then I was selected to go to Arkansas for the National Beef Cookoff.
This time St. Bob was available to come along.
Neither of us expected my little sandwich to do very well, since it isn’t the same as cooking an elaborate entry. But I took 3rd place! And, I dare say, my little sandwich stepped into history that day. Here's an article about it.
You can see the recipe here. It was 1995, and I’ll betcha you never had a tortilla roll-up before then.
This is just infinitely better than getting sued for wasp stings.
Although I can even help you with bug bites, if you check out my short YouTube Mom videos here.