The Ed Cooke Memorial Taco Feast

Each Christmas season, participants from all over the country gather in Michigan to celebrate an annual event, the Ed Cooke Memorial Taco Feast. As the name suggests, this tradition revolves around tacos, and was founded upon the late, great Ed Cooke’s affinity for tacos and his general zest for life.

If you haven’t heard of this Feast, that’s because all the participants are members of Ed Cooke’s family, by birth or by marriage. But the fact remains that 30 or more celebrants travel from across Michigan and from as far away as Florida, Iowa and even the United Arab Emirates each year to enjoy this event.

The Feast was established about 20 years ago, soon after my grandfather Ed Cooke succumbed to cancer. As the eldest grandchild, I am lucky enough to remember his warm, booming laugh, which once dominated similar taco-fests. In tribute to his hearty appetite, the Taco Feast began as a competition, the dubious title of “winner” going to whomever could put away the most tacos. Yet that focus has shifted over the years as grandchildren have grown up and the family itself has grown: With Ed’s six children and spouses, their children and spouses, and their children, the number of participants increases steadily! Minor tweaks to the Feast are continually introduced, such as the recent trend of the “older grandchildren” handling all the required chopping and shredding, and menu additions like vegetarian-friendly beans and chopped cilantro. However, the spirit of the Feast remains unchanged from year to year.

It may not be an internationally famous festival, but it’s a tradition that was created – and firmly remains – in Michigan, and one that is cherished by four generations of the Cooke family.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love this!

  2. I’m so jelly! I did a taco crawl for my 26th birthday and it was awesome! Any chance non family members can garner an invite?? I ❤ tacos 🙂


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