There will always be a place close to tasting tacos in Taco Santo. The taco is a staple of our diet and taquerías, whether local or street stalls are an essential part of the Mexican landscape. But rarely we think of this food as an anthropological instrument.
“All that the Mexican can be wrapped in a tortilla, ” says Verne Déborah Holtz, coauthor of The Tacopedia book that has become a benchmark for this dish. “I can hardly find another food that has the versatility and representative of a culture that taco .” Holtz and two other scholars and cultural background taco tell us some of the most characteristic aspects of Mexican society that can be understood through this meal.
Our culture is as diverse as the variety of tacos
Each region of Mexico is a world and tacos are evidence of that. The Tacopedia documented 16 types of cleats by its form of preparation, but the ingredients and variations within those categories are much wider as seen in the map above, also included in the book.
“The map of Mexico is the map of their tacos,” says Holtz. “In the country, you will find an infinite variety of ingredients, a way of eating and people you swear by your life that Wad its region is the best in the world.”
The tacos al pastor, for example, not only are prepared with marinated pork, as the best known, there are also versions of chicken and fish or Eastern eaten with tortillas or pita bread Arabic.
The variety of tacos also grows in the United States with increasing populations of Mexican immigrants in the country. “The offer now is much broader, ” says Verne Steven Alvarez, professor and researcher on food and Mexican culture at the University of Kentucky.
“There tacos Yucatan, Sonora and elsewhere in Mexico. What was once less common because the populations of these regions were not as numerous “.
We are resourceful and take advantage of all the resources at our disposal
The reason for the variety of plugs responds to the diversity of ingredients available in each region. The tacos are not only meat or fish; but there are also potatoes, beans, flowers, maguey worms, grasshoppers, and ants. “Finally, everything can tabular,” says Holtz. “The important thing is to have good ingredients and good tortillas.”
The tortilla is not only the basis of the taco but the Mexican diet and is not achieved only with degrading an ear and pass by a processor. Nixtamalization, cooking corn, water, and lime, created by the ancient Mexica, is the first step to creating the tortilla dough and derivatives.
“The only hero we have not built a monument is who came up with the mass,” says Holtz. “It is what gave rise to a glorious food.”
- The exact origin of the blocks is unknown, but there are historical documents show that was part of the diet of pre-Hispanic cultures.
- One of them are the memories of the conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo in which recounts a feast with Moctezuma emperor where tortillas were stuffed offered fish, snails, Escamoles (ant eggs) nopales, among other dishes presented at the royal table.
- The taco survived colonization but underwent a transformation.
- “Mexicans joined the ingredients that came from Spain as beef and pork that did not exist in the country.
- With the arrival of wheat flour, flour tortillas were created in the north. Thus a total syncretism, the taco has the particularity of combining the different cultures was achieved, “Holtz said.
Hundreds of years later, a similar synergy emerged in the United States. “The tacos are also part of the history of American gastronomy,” Alvarez said. “Here variations like chili con carne (spicy ground beef or chopped) were created.
Another example is the tacos hard shell (crispy tortillas), which have been set up in Mitla Cafe, a restaurant in San Bernardino, California, who frequented the Mexican workers in the area. Taco Bell took the recipe from there and became an American dish, but Mila does not receive credit. ”
Preserve and learn trades from generation to generation
Some of what the authors of Taco Santo realized during four years of investigation is to be taqueria is not easy. “The taqueria is the ultimate expression of readiness and expertise.
You can be drunk or raw, but you always taqueria times and serves with precise portions. None of them went to college fast food, comes from an ancient tradition and was growing demand for tacos, “Holtz said.
The taqueria is efficient because the public is demanding. “They understand the need for immediacy, if you serve a cold tortilla, taco no longer tastes the same.
Finally are the representatives of that tradition and we have eaten taco all our lives, if we serve a bad taco, take it up as an insult, “says the author.
We like to talk in metaphor
The taco is so integrated into our culture that is synonymous with food. “When you say ‘you have to throw us a taco’ means ‘let’s eat,’ not necessarily go to a taqueria,” says Holtz. Also not part of our culinary vernacular, how are you traditional phrases:
Throw an eye candy: observe or admire one or more attractive people.
Language me like a taco: The answer to someone who exaggerates things, talk the talk or lies.