Trader Vic (ne Bergeron) lays his tacos on the table with the confession that in preparation for his latest book of recipes he ""ate Mexican food until it almost gave me an ulcer."" The unsurprising result is a preponderance of sameish white wine/ egg yolk/ tomato paste concoctions -- Tex-Mex dishes latinized with the addition of chilies, and then Americanized by the substitution of ""canned ingredients. . .for fresh whenever the finished dish will taste just as good."" Even when he allows that we can ""get a big kick"" out of making our own tortillas, there's small comfort in the advice that ""the traditional accompaniments are easy if you have instant rice and canned refried beans on hand."" Not to say that the recipes won't work -- one or two might even turn out to be ""the best damn thing you ever ate."" But they're seasoned to the taste of a north-of-the-border crowd which will prefer the (beef) tongue-in-cheek lustiness of Son-Of-A-Bitch Stew to the straightforward bite of a homemade tamale.