Skip to comments.Taco USA (An Amusing History of Mexican Food in the United States)
Posted on 05/16/2012 2:34:51 PM PDT by mojito
....There is nothing remotely Mexican about Potato Olésnot even the quasi-Spanish name, which has a distinctly Castilian accent. The burrito was more insulting to me and my heritage than casting Charlton Heston as the swarthy Mexican hero in Touch of Evil. But it was intriguing enough to take back to my hotel room for a taste. There, as I experienced all of the concoctions gooey, filling glory while chilly rain fell outside, it struck me: Mexican food has become a better culinary metaphor for America than the melting pot.
Back home, my friends did not believe that a tater tot burrito could exist. When I showed them proof online, out came jeremiads about inauthenticity, about how I was a traitor for patronizing a Mexican chain that got its start in Wyoming, about how the avaricious gabachos had once again usurped our holy cuisine and corrupted it to fit their crude palates.
In defending that tortilla-swaddled abomination, I unknowingly joined a long, proud lineage of food heretics and lawbreakers who have been developing, adapting, and popularizing Mexican food in El Norte since before the Civil War. Tortillas and tamales have long left behind the moorings of immigrant culture and fully infiltrated every level of the American food pyramid, from state dinners at the White House to your local 7-Eleven. Decades worth of attempted restrictions by governments, academics, and other self-appointed custodians of purity have only made the strain stronger and more resilient. The result is a market-driven mongrel cuisine every bit as delicious and all-American as the German classics we appropriated from Frankfurt and Hamburg.
(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...
I’ve been told is it celebrated in Ireland by dressing up in your best clothes and going to church.
LOL.....I think that is one thing you can always count on in any country.
We buy tamales from a Mexican woman that makes them in her home. But they are the bready kind with lots of masa. Filling though.
Oh does that bring back memories of TAMALEMAN! growing up in Los Angeles. Guy used to come around the neighborhood in his little Chevy Luv pickup selling tamales his wife made. My dad swore this guy had the best tamales he’d ever eaten; all I know I was hooked on tamales by the time I was eight!
Oh yeah, and huevos rancheros covered in enough tabasco sauce to make an Occupy protester scream in terror. :)
I don't know who first tried boiled sweet corn.
Lots of what we call 'Mexican' food was a fusion of indian and Spanish foods. All foods come from somewhere else, until it's lost in the mists of time.
We humans have been adapting and swiping recipes since before recorded history began. I continue that proud tradition. ;)
Yuck. Did they use yellow cheese too?
I’m surprised Eldorado hasn’t been overtaken by Mexicans but I guess it’s too humid since it’s practically Lousiana.
Go into West Arkansas on Hwy 10 and little towns like Danville and Dardanelle have been overrun, mostly from workers doing the chicken plucking us white trash folks used to do! lol
A pizza in Paris ( Did they just plop an egg on that?)
We experienced that in Belgium - we had to slide it off, scrape, dap with a napkin, and then procede. We learned to read the menu more carefully after that; pizza + uf is bad.
Same here in the Czech Republic. Not just eggs. Corn.
Best pizza I’ve found here is in a town called Slany at a restaurant called “Pizza” run by a couple of Pakistani brothers. Best pizza outside Italy (or possibly Little Italy). Those two guys know what they’re doing.
The writer pens for the OC Metro, in Orange County CA, where Santa Ana is one of the most “hispanic” American towns. Another is San Antonio, TX.
I call a lot of the food “American Southwest” because it originates in both Mexico, as well as the old West whereby cattle drives brought along a cook, his supplies, and the cook was often Mexican.
He brought bags of dried beans, to soak and cook.
And they took beef from the cattle they drove.
Finally came the flavorings, etc.
Today the Chipotle chain reflects this American Southwest style, for me. Started in Denver.
A smaller chain called Freebirds is like Chipotle. Started in Santa Barbara CA, and Austin TX.
El Pollo Loco started in Mexico, then to the US. This Mexican style fast food restaurant is notable, because the Mexicans go there. For good reason, excellent eats.
Finally as a lifelong SoCal person, I remember working near East LA and going for some “authentic” mexican lunches.
Still do that, with a lawyer friend, and we go to downtown Tustin, near Santa Ana....talk about a busy little place, full of Anglos gobbling up “authentic” style.
And I have seen authentic potato burritos, in “authentic” places.
Because I said so.
Pit cooked barbecue in every variety and in all its glory is utterly American, with the earliest renditions from the Virginia and Carolina colonies being introduced to the English by natives. The early sauce, which has morphed considerably region by region due to availability of ingredients and the suitability of differing lovestock, began as the Elizabethan “catsup,” which was herbs and spices occasionally with mushrooms in vinegar. Only eastern NC style remains anywhere near this early origin, with pork because pigs were well suited to forage in a forest seemingly without end. Other foods with a similar provenance would be cornbread and grits.
I’ve said before that Thanksgiving Dinner should authentically be barbecue, it’s as American as you get, with just stray touches of Europe here and there, that have been so thoroughly fused and modified that they’ve become unique to place as well.
I noticed that the tamales those guys sell are always warm. The tamale man carrys the tamales in an ice chest. I asked how they do it. I was told that they fill the ice chest with hot water before they put the tamales in. They pour out the hot water, put the tamales in, then they put cloth soaked in hot water around the tamales. I guess that I am lucky I have never gotten sick from eating that stuff.
I say mix them all up. Just ate chicken cooked with California red chilies, cumin, garlic and lime juice over Indian Korma rice with a side of filet.
Besides breads and sauces, I focused on food history in culinary school.
There is no 'authentic' anything out there. We eat what we can get and adapt it to our tastes.
As with Italian, French, Japanese or Spanish and a number of other foods. I can not even eat some of these "authentic" foods.
We have taken these foods and made them to our liking.
Most caterers do the exact same. If the tamales are above 140F (and that's easy to do in an Igloo) or they haven't been in the danger zone (42F-140F) for more than 4 hours, you are generally safe.
I would worry more about washed hands. Shigella is ugly.
Every “real” mexican I knew growing up at hotdogs, bologna, and potato chips. They did make their own sauces and dips though...and they were good.
A buddy of mine in gradeschool...his dad married a mexican girl after his divorce. She used to make tomales from scratch. They were basically a lump of damp unleaven corn bread with a pinch of cheese and a chili pepper inside...all wrapped up in a corn husk.
THEY WERE DELICIOUS
She called them “cheese tomales”. They made them from scratch from whole ears of sweet corn. They bought it with the husk on it and saved the husks for the wrap. When she made them, it would be a two day event with 4 or 5 women and they would make a whole pickup truck load of them.
He’s absoiutely right that Taco Bell is terrible. He’s also right that Del Taco is surprisingly good.
I dunno about that. A chinese man once told me there is nothing chinese about american chinese food and that it was invented in new york city by a jewish man.
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