Why do I hate wraps? Because they are nothing more than trendy, moved-to-the-O.C. fancy food, while all the while denying their humble, ethnic parentage. A rose by any other name is still a rose, but a wrap by any other name is still a burrito. Yes, dear reader, a burrito. You can stuff it with caviar or foie gras, and it will still be a burrito (that dresses like a bimbo).
Ever the voice of reason, Rob, an Australian friend, cannot wrap his brain around my antipathy toward this seemingly innocuous dish. Having lived in Europe, he contends that wraps are an American take on French crêpes, or something of the sort. Therefore, I decided to conduct some “research” of my own. I found a 2003 Williams-Sonoma catalog which featured green spinach and red sundried-tomato flour tortillas, manufactured just for them by a “Mexican émigré”*, which are perfect for, you guessed it, wraps.
Upon consideration, perhaps it is not the dish that I hate as much as the word itself. The word wrap, in one of its verb forms, means, “To fold or roll something up into a compact bundle.” With a flexibility typical of English, wrap has now morphed into a noun that is remarkable only for its asinine ugliness—how prosaic it sounds, how utterably devoid of even a little bit of poetry. Can’t someone come up with an elegant, more creative name for the burrito’s mutant offspring?
May I suggest an alternative name, something that gives a quiet nod to its Mexican roots while at the same time satisfying the linguistic whims of the wrap’s upscale admirers? How about Asno (ahs′-noh)? I would like a red sun-dried tomato asno with prosciutto and basil sounds so much better than I would like a green spinach wrap, don’t you think? It sounds so very Italian, like the Arno. Besides, asno and burrito both mean the same thing (see the bottom of this page).
Tonight, I think will take myself to my favorite hole-in-the-wall taco joint and will enjoy a simple, yet delicious burrito of tender pork carnitas with green tomatillo with chile serrano and cilantro salsa together with a slice of panela cheese and fresh pinto beans de la olla, washed down with an icy Pacifico beer. Others can eat their expensive, stone-cold wraps, er, asnos if they desire.
So, if a friend were to offer me one, would I refuse it? Most certainly not—I would hate to hurt her feelings. Who knows? I just might like the little green monstrosity. Now, would I ever tell you if I did? Not at all—I’m keeping that under wraps.
*“Mexican émigré”? It "gives a certain elegance to misfortune”, doesn’t it?