Tacos are some of the best handheld foods that the world has to offer.
You can put just about anything in a taco.
Tacos are the perfect option if you or your guests have dietary restrictions because each person gets to decide what is in their taco.
The taco acts as the glue that holds most college students together, and it’s often their only source of vegetables.
Life can’t all be instant noodles or peanut butter, and tacos serve as the perfect substitute.
Is A Taco A Sandwich?
Tacos are not sandwiches.
A sandwich is primarily two slices of bread with filling in between or one slice of bread covered in food, and secondarily is something resembling a sandwich.
The key phrase in that definition is “slices of bread”.
Tacos are not made with slices of bread.
They’re made with tortillas and tortillas are individually made, not made in a loaf that is later cut into slices.
Although a soft tortilla is a type of bread, it’s never sliced.
Even individually made hamburger buns are sliced in order to put the burger patty and other toppings inside.
If you look at cultural foods across the globe, you will find a lot of parallels.
While the Western Europeans made their sandwiches with bread and the people of Mexico filled their tortillas with ingredients similarly, these foods are still very different.
The primary similarity that these foods share is they fulfill the same goal.
Both the sandwich and the taco have been a part of the history of the working class as an easy but filling meal that wasn’t messy.
Although there are a lot of foods that people may consider to be sandwiches, they aren’t thinking deeply enough about what qualifies a food to be a sandwich.
There are other bread-covered, filled foods other than sandwiches.
There is a unified classification process that asks questions bigger than whether or not something is a sandwich.
There is more to this foodie world than just sandwiches.
Those are only the beginning…
The Cube Rule
The Cube Rule is used to classify the bready foods you’re eating by considering where the starches of your food are placed relative to a cube.
Sandwich and taco are only two of six categories in which a food can be classified if it uses starches to contain the filling.
The first category of the Cube Rule is toast.
A food is classified as toast if there is only starch on the bottom.
Popular foods that are classified as toast are pizza, open-face sandwiches, and nigiri sushi.
Some people may also include pumpkin pie in this list.
According to the Cube Rule, a sandwich has its starches on the top and the bottom of the food.
Quesadillas that are not folded are technically sandwiches.
Those who enjoy a Victoria sponge cake are also eating a sandwich.
By this definition, even a loaf of bread could be a sandwich.
The taco is the third category of the Cube Rule.
A food is a taco if it has starch against both the left and right sides while also starch on the bottom.
The bun of a hot dog makes it a taco.
By this same logic, sub sandwiches that are stuffed into a loaf of bread are tacos.
Their name is incredibly misleading.
The fourth classification of food is sushi.
Foods that are considered to be sushi have starch wrapped around the sides, but not the front or the back.
Common foods in this class are enchiladas and wraps.
The last two categories are quiches and calzones.
A quiche is any food where starches cover all, but the top of the food, whereas calzones are completely covered by their starch.
Examples of quiche are cheesecake or a soup or salad in a bread bowl.
Calzone examples include corn dogs and pop tarts.
The History Of The Taco
For a deeper look at many people’s favorite Mexican food, we need to figure out what it means to be a taco.
The taco and the tortilla that makes it are a crucial part of the Mexican culture.
To truly understand the significance, we must go back to the very beginning.
According to the Popol Vuh, humans came from the same starch as tortillas.
Humans’ arms and legs were made from the same dough as a taco shell.
Does that make all of us tacos?
No, because there is more to tacos than just their hard shells.
In Spanish, the word taco means to wedge or wad something into a small area.
When you make a taco, you are wedging your meats and vegetables into the center of the shell.
The word taco originates from the Nahuatl word tlahco, which means halfway or in the middle.
The first sign of a taco was in 1,500 BC.
Moctezuma, king of the Aztecs, would use a tortilla as a rounded spoon.
Although by modern standards this would qualify the bread spoon as toast, this was the beginning of the taco.
Moctezuma’s taco spoon mostly had beans, chili, and cochineal.
Cochineal is a type of beetle.
The taco we all know and love didn’t come around until 1908.
This taco was a tortilla filled with a bed of rice, pork rinds, mole verde, sausage, and potatoes.
Most foodies agree that the birthplace of the taco is in Cuautla, Morelos.
The 1950s saw an economic crisis, but the Mexican people took it as an opportunity to make their own jobs.
Taqueros, those who make tacos, would travel with enough tacos to sell in order to get by.
You could find them with their vans and bicycles, selling their fresh tacos to businessmen and university students.
National Taco Day
Tacos are so amazing that they deserve their own national holiday, which is exactly what they got on October 4th of each year.
Americans eat an average of 4.5 billion tacos per year, which is almost half of a million miles worth of tacos.
We all have Roberto L. Gomez to thank for this holiday and tacos getting the recognition they deserve.
Gomez was a journalist in the 1960s who was obsessed with Mexican cuisine.
You can’t blame the man for his obsession either.
Mexican food wasn’t as popular in the United States at the time, and he wanted to share it with the whole country.
In order to give Mexican food the boost it needed, Gomez sent a 55-pound taco to President Johnson.
In the beginning, National Taco Day was held in the week before Cinco de Mayo.
A solid date for the holiday wasn’t set until 2010, when many Mexican food chains decided to celebrate the holiday on October 4th.
Now, bars and taco joints hold grand celebrations and offer special deals, which sometimes include free tacos.
The Biggest Carnitas Taco
While the 55-pound taco that Roberto L. Gomez sent to President Johnson was incredibly large, it doesn’t hold a candle to the world’s biggest taco.
The world’s biggest taco weighed well over 100 times the weight of Gomez’s presidential taco.
The world’s largest taco was created in the state of Querétaro.
This kaiju of a taco was 335 feet long and weighed about 5,968 pounds.
It started as a promise to the event organizer’s uncle.
The promise was made in 2011 and was fulfilled with the help of many in 2019.
The massive taco fed 15,000 people who all came to create the taco and to watch it be created.
The taco was filled with carnitas which is pork that is boiled in a copper pot and seasoned with tequesquite.
The event planner and head creator of the giant taco claims this isn’t his first unreasonably large taco.
Alejandro Paredes Reséndiz was the one who dreamed up this culinary feat.
He had once made a taco that was 246 feet long.
Although there is no prize money for creating the biggest taco, Reséndiz made sure that any money donated would be going back to his local family center.
Family was the reason that this taco existed, and families were who this taco was meant to help.
The First Taco Food Truck
Food trucks have become the perfect way to start your food business and have become increasingly popular.
One of the most common types of food trucks is the taco truck.
Taco trucks are a great way to try a chef’s food who may not be able to afford a whole restaurant and staff.
Food trucks have proven to be an incredible way to get your culinary career rolling along to success.
The first taco truck was started by Raul Martinez in 1974.
He took an old ice cream truck and converted it to a kitchen on wheels.
Knowing that drunk people love a good taco, he parked his truck outside of a bar in Los Angeles.
Martinez found massive success with his taco truck and was able to open his own restaurant six months later called King Taco.
Martinez later turned King Taco into a multimillion-dollar food chain.
There are now more than 20 King Taco locations in California.
The restaurant is best known for its al pastor tacos, which are made with pork.
Sadly, Raul Martinez passed away in 2013, at the age of 71.
Those who had the opportunity to work for and with Martinez reflect on their time with him fondly.
He was an excellent motivator and innovator who wanted nothing more than to see people succeed in life.
Martinez knew he had landed himself in an excellent situation and wanted nothing more than to share the gift that he had been given.
On Sundays, he would go out and feed the hungry people of East Los Angeles.
Most Common Types Of Tacos
Tacos can be filled with whatever your heart and stomach desire and some taco places get extremely experimental.
There are six different types of tacos that you will find at almost every authentic Mexican restaurant.
Foodies who love pork will adore al pastor tacos.
The creation of the al pastor taco can be credited to the Lebanese influence that came when the Lebanese people made their way to Mexico.
Mexican taqueros took what they learned about shawarma from their Lebanese neighbors and applied it to pork.
Those who like a smoky taste to their beef will love barbacoa tacos.
The juices of the beef stay trapped inside the agave leaves and are cooked until it is so tender that it falls right off the bone.
If you want tacos with that homestyle, cookout taste, then you need to try carne asada tacos.
It is a steak that has been seasoned in a dry rub of the chef’s choice.
Then it is grilled to give a nice, charred flavor.
The biggest taco to ever exist was made with carnitas, which is pork that has been simmered in fat in a large steel or copper pot.
The moisture is kept inside the cooking pork thanks to the lard it is encased in.
When cooked along enough, the edges of the pork will be crispy.
Sausage lovers love chorizo.
Although chorizo is from Spain, Mexican have added paprika and other native peppers.
Every chef has their own way to make chorizo.
This makes every chorizo taco unique to the person cooking it.
Cow tongue may not sound appetizing, but lengua tacos never disappoint those who are adventurous enough to order them.
Cow tongue is one of the most tender cuts of beef.
These mouthwatering tacos are enough to change your opinion on cow tongue.
Taco Are Unique
A taco is no sandwich.
The history of the taco and the influence that tacos have had on the culinary world is often understated.
Tacos deserve their national holiday for giving people an easy way to eat, the opportunity to make money, and for being the reason the first food truck was created.
The culinary world would be a much bleaker place if it weren’t for all the contributions that tacos and other Mexican cuisine have given us.
A taco isn’t a sandwich, but it is much more influential than one.