The History of Tacos

Tacos, tacos, tacos!!! Everybody loves tacos, so much in fact 4.9 billion were eaten in America last year!  There is a day of the week dedicated to these small Mexican “sandwiches” known as Taco Tuesday, and even a National holiday in their honor, October 4th.  Tacos, which is basically the Spanish word for little sandwiches, are loved by many and are quite famous in their own right.  However the exact origin of the taco is not exactly known.

  One self proclaimed taco expert thinks he may have an idea, Jeffrey M. Pilcher made it his duty to research where the taco may have derived from and in doing so has dated it back to the 18th century.  He believes that the word taco comes from the Silvermines of Mexico and first referred to the explosives used to blast out the ore.  Miners would wrap pieces of paper around gun powder and place the hand made explosive in holes carved in the rock to aid them in extracting the ore.  The “tacos” looked somewhat like that of a taquito, which means little taco!  The only support to Jeffrey’s belief didn’t come until the 19th century however.  That is when there is written proof of tacos as in the ones we eat, and they were then referred to as tacos de minero which translates to Miners Tacos. Coincidence?

Still others believe that the true origin of the taco dates all the way back to the 16th century, before the arrival of the Spanish In Mexico.   Experts say that there is evidence of settlers in the lake region of Mexico who ate tacos filled with small fish.  If this is true who can blame them! Fish tacos whether battered and fried or fresh off the grill are amazing and delicious.  What is not so amazing and delicious is the settlers of other regions that were said to have filled their tacos with insects, locusts, and ants to name a few. I’ll stick with the fish any day!!

Whatever the exact origin of tacos may be, one thing we do know is that they are a worldwide favorite to many.  With all the different options of meat, poultry, veggies and seafood that can fill a taco they reach every type of taste buds and palettes out there.  If you find yourself getting into a taco rut, we suggest jazzing them up with different sauces or seasoning added to the filling.  Maybe try a mango salsa on seafood tacos or a killer guacamole on a veggie taco.  One thing is for sure, tacos have no specific recipe, so do it up, create your own and have a taco party!!

You don’t need to wait for Taco Tuesday, although there are many spots that offer great tacos and deals that day.  Nor do you have to wait for National Taco Day on October 4th.  As a matter of fact all this taco talk is making me hungry.  I have a dinner party coming up tonight and I think i’m going to have a make it your self taco bar.  All the ingredients are placed separate and my quests are free to construct their very own tacos.  Minus any insects or ants of course!!!