How Mexican Food Conquered America
When salsa overtook ketchup as this country’s favorite condiment in the 1990s, America’s century-long love affair with Mexican food reached yet another milestone. In seemingly every decade since the 1880s, America has tried new food trends from south of the border—chili, tamales, tacos, enchiladas, tequila, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and so many more—loved them, and demanded the next great thing. As a result, Mexican food dominates American palates to the tune of billions of dollars in sales per year, from canned refried beans to frozen margaritas and ballpark nachos. It’s a little-known history, one that’s crept up on this country like your Mexican neighbors—and left us better for it.
Now, Taco USA addresses the all-important questions: What exactly constitutes “Mexican” food in the United States? How did it get here? What’s “authentic” and what’s “Taco Bell,” and does it matter? What’s so cosmic about a burrito? And why do Americans love Mexican food so darn much?
Tacos, alas, sold separately.
Author Gustavo Arellano Reveals the Question He is Asked Most Often
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What’s So Cosmic About a Burrito?
Two hundred and thirteen miles up in space, the Earth below cerulean blue, the universe around them infinite and awesome, José Hernández and Danny Olivas wanted Mexican food.
The two had come prepared. They were astronauts on STS-128, a NASA mission that flew the Discovery space shuttle to rendezvous with the International Space Station on August 30, 2009. Discovery’s seven-member crew spent ten days at the research station, primarily to resupply the people already up there and to rotate members. Olivas—raised in El Paso,... see more
You Mean Mexico Gave the World More Than Just Tacos?
Before we begin our study of Mexican food in the United States, it’s wise to start at the source: Mexico. Trying to figure out who created what dish or harvested what crop first is a silly exercise, but there is an acknowledged Bethlehem, where foreigners first became entranced by the food and then sought to sing its glories ever after: Mexico City.
The mother in this Nativity scene, of course, is the Virgin of Guadalupe, whom the Catholic Church says appeared to the peon Juan Diego in 1531 as a brown-skinned Mother of Christ dressed in the simple... see more