Last weekend my middle-school aged daughter had an indoor soccer tournament at a school in a small rural town about 45 minutes away. These tournaments always have some kind of concession stand with the usual soft drinks, candies, fruit, etc. But at this one I saw something that intrigued me, it was billed as a “Walking Taco” (Google it, you’ll see) and was $3. What the hell is that? I love Mexican and Tex-Mex food, but had no idea what this was.
A short while later a found out. One of the kids on the team bought one. It’s apparently a small bag of Doritos that is opened and into which lettuce, chili, and cheese are poured. It looked (a lot) less than appetizing. On seeing this my first thought was that Gustavo Arellano would despise this.
Taco USA is a look at how Mexican food became so popular in the U.S. Tamale men, burritos, Chipotle, El Torito, Chi-Chi’s, Taco Bell, Del Taco, it’s all in here, along with some very interesting backstories. Mr. Arellano’s book Taco USA is generally a good read. The first third was a page-turner and informative, the middle-third was a bit slow, and the final third was again interesting. Gustavo Arellano doesn’t have much use for inauthentic Mexican food, or something else being passed off as Mexican food. There’s even a chapter on tequila and margaritas. Though I can imagine what the author thinks of these.
All joking aside, this is a fun read, with a great deal of information packed into it. If you like food, particularly Mexican food, and a little bit of history, grab this one.