History of the Taco

taco3Here is an abridged history of the taco.

The word “taco” came from 18th century Mexican silver miners, who made explosive charges with gun powder wrapped in paper explosive charges. The indigenous people of Mexico created the corn tortilla, in which they put fish on it and ate it as a meal. European settlers saw indigenous foods as lower class and over time through the 19th century what became the taco, was known as street food. Mexican immigrants migrate to the lower United States around 1905 and brought their food recipes. There, Mexican women served tacos and tamales out of carts, while at the same time, tourism in the south west rose due to expanded railways. Eventually, word spread around about the Mexican food that was being sold in the south-west cities, garnering tourists interests. Soon later, the next generation of children from the 1905 immigrants, started to incorporate American produce like lettuce, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese into tacos. In the mid- 20th century Lebanese immigrants brought over shawarma, a sliced pork which is piked on a rotisserie and served on tortillas, thus creating tacos al pastor. Mexican immigrants assimilated tacos al pastor and continued to sell them in largely Mexican communities. Glen Bell, the creator of Taco Bell, saw the potential of marketing the taco; he knew not many folks would go to Mexican communities to buy tacos, so he would bring it to them. The hard taco shell was invented, it had a longer shelf life than a fresh tortilla, and therefore could be stocked away. Taco Bell brought the taco to the mainstream and became a food that most Americans enjoy. At the close of the 20th century, American appetites grew for authentic tacos which led to the popularity of the taco truck and the taqueria. It did not matter where the taco came from anymore, so as long as it is a delicious taco.

Credit: http://www.smithsonianmag.com

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http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/where-did-the-taco-come-from-81228162/?no-ist