The Origins of Tacos

May 19, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Katy June Friesen had the opportunity to interview Jeffrey M. Pilcher, an expert on Mexican food. In this interview they discussed the origins of the taco and some highlights include:

  • One theory suggests that the word ‘taco’ has its origins in the dynamite (paper covered gunpowder) used in Mexican silver mines.
  • Tacos are a relatively modern invention that can be traced back to the 1700s.
  • Tacos were first mentioned in the United States in 1905, at a time when Mexicans began to migrate to the United States.
  • They were seen as lower class food until the children of the original Mexican migrants began to advance economically.
  • What is widely considered a standard taco today is really an amalgam of American and Mexican cuisine. Hamburger meat, cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes are all signs of American influences.
  • Hard shell tacos did not become mainstream until around the 1940s.

To read more about Lebanese-Mexican tacos, why tacos are like doughnuts, why Taco Bell has been unsuccessful in Mexico, the role that sexualization has played in the adoption of the taco, and why eating a taco was described as “biting a serpent” read the full interview here.

Source: Smithsonian

Via: Kottke