¡The History of the Taco!

The History Of The Taco Mexican Cafe BlogHave you ever been enjoying a perfect taco and wondered how people created such a perfect dish? Or how it got its name? Well, wonder no longer. Here is your breakdown of the history of the taco, which is one of our favorite dishes.

The origin of the taco is shrouded in a bit of mystery. There are two main theories about where the name “Taco” comes from, the first dates back to at least the 18th century, in the silver mines of Mexico. In these mines, the dynamite that was used to excavate the ore was called a taco. The gunpowder wrapped in paper looked a lot like the minors preferred lunch dish, meat wrapped in a tortilla. The other theory is that the name is much older and comes from an Aztec word, tlacho, meaning middle, because the ingredients of the taco are placed in the middle of the tortilla.

The dish itself was created well before the arrival of the Spanish, but after that, not too much is known about it. What is known is that it was a very popular traditional food. It has been particularly popular among the native peoples in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico. Their diet consisted mainly of fish tacos. Even the cold hearted Spanish Conquistadors couldn’t resist the taco’s savory goodness. History of The Taco Mexican Temple Mexican Cafe BlogOne Conquistador’s report documents a taco feast held by Cortés for his captains, probably the one taco party no one is sad they weren’t invited to.

The first mention of tacos in U.S. history dates back to 1905 when trade and travel between the two countries were on the rise. Hard shell tacos did not rise to popularity until the 1940’s. Mexican restaurants and taquerias in America found that the soft tortilla shells didn’t stay fresh for very long, but when fried in a U shape it was much easier to store, and produce in larger amounts. In the 1950’s Glen Bell opened a taco stand. He was inspired by the success of another local Mexican restaurant that was selling the hard shelled tacos. While Bell has claimed the credit for inventing and popularizing the hard shell taco, patent records show the hard shell taco was already a widely sold dish.

Since then, the popularity of the taco in the U.S, and worldwide, has only continued to grow. We even have a whole day for it, #TacoTuesday, and with so many variations there’s no wonder why. Hopefully, this short history of the taco has given you a better insight into the taco’s past, and some fun trivia to impress your friends next time you’re enjoying tacos and a margarita at the Mexican Cafe.