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15 October 2020

History of tacos

With Salsa Grille voted by Fort Wayne Newspapers Readers’ Choice 2020 to have the #1 Tacos, it feels fitting to share the history of where this fantastic dish originated from. Have you ever bitten into the hard shell of a crunchy taco and wondered where its origin came from? If you haven’t yet, you may be wondering now!

It may surprise you to learn that the taco has more than one origin story. Some of the stories have made into the realm of myth and legend while others have their roots in Mexican culture. About the only thing that is agreed upon is that the taco definitely comes from Mexican origins.

Some sources say the taco isn’t an age-old traditional food item and claims the history of the taco is more recent one, and even a bit mysterious. One widely accepted idea is that the taco came into existence through the labor of silver miners in Mexico. Now, don’t get too excited. As the story goes, the original taco wasn’t exactly edible. It was more likely a paper folded in the shape of a taco with explosive gunpowder as the filling. This loaded paper could then be inserted into crevices and then used to blast ore free from the rock. While this explosive taco wasn’t exactly tasty, it may have been the inspiration for the tacos we’ve come to know and love today.

It may interest you to know that the first reference to the word taco came at the end of the 19th century. Tacos de minero is that reference. As you may have guessed, this translates to miner’s tacos and only helps strengthen the idea of the taco having been created by Mexican miners.

The word taco may be a more recent matter, but its creation goes back much further. Others date their sources back to 1,500 BC to when tortillas were first used as a spoon for containing food such as beans, chili, and a form of insect (cochineal). As time progressed, so too did the way in which the taco was prepared. Ingredients changed and even the tortilla shell evolved.

Many agree that the taco’s transformation began changing around the early 1900’s as different, more filling forms of tacos emerged, such as the armored taco. Later, towards the 1950’s, basket tacos became popular as an economic crisis meant change was needed to sell the tacos.

Cultures influence one another, and between the 1930’s and 1960’s, Greece played a role in influencing tacos. As immigrants migrated into Mexico, the Greek gyros played a role in the creation of tacos al pastor as the immigrants worked to create a familiar dish with local ingredients.

There is a rich and diverse history behind the creation of tacos. It’s no wonder they appeal to so many as different cultures have played their part in influencing the tasty filling within the tortilla.

If an explosion of flavor is what you’re hungry for, of the edible variety, then you may enjoy our chorizo tacos! For a real kick, add some of our spiciest salsa, the Roasted Habanero & Tomato! Taco on!

P.S Thank to you to everyone who entered our Fort Wayne Zoo Tickets Giveaway last month and congratulations to our three winners - Katie Richardson, Greg Needler, and Adrian Head!

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