Show 27, May 4, 2013: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and creator of the syndicated and wildly popular, “Ask a Mexican” column

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanGustavo’s latest book, Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America is now in paperback.

First Gustavo discussed the history of Cinco de Mayo and the fact that it’s a pretty minor holiday in Mexico. The large beer distribution entities in the United States have created (with great marketing) a festive holiday around the day in the States. It’s all a great excuse to increase beer sales!

Then it was on to the history of the taco. In Mexico references to “tacos” date to the 1880s. In the US the name first appeared about 1915.

In Mexico the hard shell taco originated in Central Mexico. The soft shell variation wasn’t popularized in homes until the 1960s.

Whether the shell was made of flour or corn depended on the region. In Northern Mexico, for instance, it was typically made with a flour tortilla.

Burritos were always made with flour tortillas.

The breakfast taco first became popular in Texas.

Gustavo is not a fan of the tacos served at Taco Bell but thinks the breakfast tacos at Del Taco are “not bad.”