Everybody loves tacos. And everybody knows that the best place to get tacos in Litchfield is Day of the Dead Mexican Taqueria. But did you know that tacos have a long and fascinating history that dates back centuries? The taco may be a simple food, but it’s very important to the culture and cuisine of Mexico.
Ready to take a journey through culinary history? Let’s find out how this food became a Mexican staple.
When we say “pre-Columbian,” we are referring to the time before Christopher Columbus came to the Americas. Wrapping food in flatbreads that closely resemble today’s tortillas is nothing new. The people of Mesoamerica were doing it long before the Europeans arrived. Ancient civilizations, such as the Aztecs and Mayans, used flatbreads made from corn to hold various fillings, including meat, beans, and vegetables. These early iterations are the culinary predecessors of the modern taco.
Soon after Columbus’ initial landing in 1492, Spanish conquistadors came to the Americas throughout the 1500s. They introduced new ingredients to traditional Central and South American food, including meats like pork and beef, dairy products, wheat, and various spices. Incorporating these ingredients into traditional foods started the evolution of Mesoamerican cuisine toward what it is today.
Street Food Evolution
During the 1700s and 1800s, Mexico underwent many cultural shifts, and tacos also changed with the times. By this time, Spanish and indigenous ingredients and cooking techniques had come together to create a wide variety of tacos. Tacos had also become popular street food, and vendors sold tacos with all kinds of fillings and ingredients in marketplaces and on the streets of Mexican cities.
Globalization and Contemporary Taco Culture
Fast food has made its mark on tacos, just as it has on many other popular foods. Taco Bell opened in the 1960s, and while we know it’s not “real” Mexican food, it did spread tacos across the globe. But in recent years, there has been renewed interest in traditional and authentic Mexican food, especially tacos. Small, family-owned restaurants are popping up everywhere, just like Day of the Dead, where you can get the best tacos in Litchfield!