What “The Taco” Means

The dictionary of Royal Spanish Academy defines it as “corn tortilla rolled up with a food inside, typical of Mexico”. Hector Manuel Romeroauthor of the dictionary called Mexican gastronomic vocabularysays that the word “taco” could be a derivation of the Nahuatl word “itacate”, the classic bundle of food to transport from one place to another.

Recently there have been various series on streaming platforms that are dedicated to tacos.

Can you imagine how many people in other countries have access to watch these shows?

There are experts on the subject of the taco, there are books about the taco, and characteristic Mexican taquerias. In a few words, the taco already has a universe and a world of its own, as well as its day of celebration (today, March 31), which was established 14 years ago, in 2007, and is still in force.

When we think of tacos, probably the first thing that comes to mind is pastor; but there are the golden ones, the governor ones, the piggy ones, and my favorites, the basket ones.

But, regardless of this, I would like to give a more social than gastronomic context to the concept of “taco”, that is, what it means in the Mexican social community.

The taco is like the national anthem, like the Guadalupe’s Virginlike the flag with the colors green, white and red; and beyond being the typical Mexican food, it represents us as Mexicans abroad.

And yes, Enrique Olvera has had a lot to do with it, like other representatives of the national cuisine who have projected Mexican gastronomy outside the country.

“Everything that is Mexican can be rolled up in a tortilla,” says La Tacopedia, a book that has become a reference on this dish. “I have a hard time finding another food that has the versatility and representativeness of a culture than the taco.”

Several scholars of the taco and its cultural background speak in this book about some of the most characteristic aspects of Mexican society that can be understood through this food.

The famous Tacopedia is the taco encyclopedia, which tells us about recipes, origins and social context. For four years, a team of researchers, photographers, illustrators and editors dedicated themselves to making this famous book.

There is also the tachography, an illustration of the map of Mexico where you can see the different types of tacos, depending on the region. This tells us about the power that this food has.

The taco unites us, it does not identify the increasingly evident gap and social polarization that exists in our country. Anyone can and wants to eat a taco. In a country marked by classism, they are united by the famous vitamin T: tacos, tortas, tlayudas, tostadas, tamales and talacoyos.

The cue is so important that it equals everyone.