The taco is the quintessential Mexican sandwich. It’s a major part of Tex-Mex cuisine and is first cited in English (1901) in a book about Mexico City.
A taco is a traditional Mexican dish comprised of a rolled or folded, pliable maize tortilla filled with an edible substance. According to the Real Academia Española, the word taco originally meant (and still means) a plug (as in rolled paper used plug a hole) or paper or cloth patch for musket balls. Care should be taken when using the word taco outside of Mexico, as the RAE lists 27 possible meanings for the word. A taco is normally served flat on a tortilla that has been warmed up on a comal; since the tortilla is still soft, it can be folded over or pinched together into a U-shape for convenient consumption. In the variant known as the taco dorado (fried taco), flauta (Flute in English, because of the shape), or taquito, the tortilla is filled with pre-cooked chicken or barbacoa, rolled into a cylinder and deep-fried until crisp.
Mexico City: An Idler’s Note-book
by Olive Percival
Chicago: H. S. Stone
There in the gutter stands a young man of about fifteen, eating a taco (which is a fried turn-over, filled with chopped, highly-seasoned meats—I once purchased one in a briefly seductive cook-shop) and chatting with a pretty little girl, of perhaps twelve, with a baby on her hip.
California Mexican-Spanish Cook Book:
Selected Mexican and Spanish Recipes
By Bertha Haffner-Ginger
Pg. 45 (photo):
Made by putting chopped cooked beef and chile sauce in tortilla made of meal and flour; folded, edges sealed together with egg; fried in deep fat, chile sauce served on it.
8 April 1924, Los Angeles Times, pg. A1:
ROMANCE OF CITY SPARED
Barbacoa and Chili Menudo Still May Be Served to
Mexicans from Plaza Carts, Council Decrees
The vending wagons in question appear about sunset along the curb near the Old Baker Block. They are replicas of the booths found around the plaza of every Mexican town, and are tended by blanketed men and women who cry their wares with musical cadence. One may sup on barbacoa, that gruesome delicacy of a roast sheep’s head, or taquitos, chopped meat and pepper wrapped in a tortilla and fried. The booths are open from sundown to the “Madruga,” or false dawn, when the laborers of ditch or ranch come to get their big bowls of menudo, that peasant breakfast dish of stewed tripe, washed down with black coffee. There is much red pepper in each of these dishes, giving that stimulating effect so much prized by the “gente baja” but which would give acute indigestion to those of nicer tastes.
Brimstone and Chili:
A Book of Personal Experiences in the Southwest and in Mexico
by Carleton Beals
New York: Alfred A. Knopf
Pg. 112 (Chapter on CAJEME—ed.):
Late that afternoon—the purple waters of Guaymas Bay, and Empalme. Just outside the station we spent out twenty centavos for several tacos, with chili, and coffee; then walked through the tree-shaded town.
Calling to one of the vendors swarming on the platform, we invested our twenty-five centavos in tacos and oranges—our first food of the day. Our purchases attracted a number of urchins, who came up all agog to the door of the box car to stare and question.
12 August 1928, Dallas Morning News, “Seeing the Gay Gypsy Life in Mexico” by Angie Ousley Rosser, feature section, pg. 1:
Thoroughgoing bum that I was, that night I ate tacos at Novadades de Mexico.
17 May 1931, Los Angeles Times, “Did You Know That...” by Paul Rodriguez, pg. K7:
The tortilla is principally bread, but it is the foundation for many dishes. An enchilada is nothing but a tortilla with chopped meat and other things rolled up in it. A taco is a tortilla folded over meat and vegetables and toasted a little. One of my fondest recollections is of the days when we kids used to improvice tacos at the table at home.
We would lay a tortilla on the tablecloth, spread a couple of spoonfuls of fried rice on it, garnish it with frijoles, roll it up and go to it. As we squeezed the top of the taco in biting it, rice and beans would drop out the bottom. Then mother’s knuckles would descend on the crown of the offender, and we would receive a general lecture on table manners.
Fried tortillas—fried in lard, not butter—are crisp, delicious brown morsels. They taste just like big cakes of pop corn and make the ideal companion for a good “tamal” or a plate of “frijoles refritos.”
I am glad that so many little awning-stands have sprung up on the Paseo. Somehow a taco or an enchilada eaten out in the open tastes a little better than the same dish served on a tablecloth—for all that the “senorita’s” eyes remind me of summer evenings in Mazatlan. Then besides, there is the “menudo,” which should never be eaten under any roof but a canvas one.
Frances Toor’s Guide to Mexico
Printed in Mexico City for 1933
The tacos are the Mexican sandwiches, rolled in tortillas instead of between bread.
The Palatists Book of Cookery
The Assistance League of Southern California
10 May 1947, New York Herald Tribune, Clementine Paddleford restaurant review of Xochitl (146 West Forty-sixth Street, NYC), pg. 11, col. 6:
LITTLE SANDWICH—Those hot peppers in vinegar and oil are to order when a dish is chosen lacking in heat, such as egg combination and the tacos. A taco is a sandwich, a tortilla folded around a spicy but not hot filling of pork, cheese, sausage or beef. You can have these “soft,” with the tortilla merely toasted, or with the tortilla fried. To fry, it is dropped a second in hot shallow fat then quickly out and the filling placed on one side and the tortilla folded over while it’s still limber.
Word Mark PARTY TACO
Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: MEXICAN FOOD ITEM, NAMELY A TACO FOR CONSUMPTION ON AND OFF THE PREMISES. FIRST USE: 19890504. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19890504
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Design Search Code
Serial Number 73804726
Filing Date June 5, 1989
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition October 31, 1989
Registration Number 1579300
Registration Date January 23, 1990
Owner (REGISTRANT) CASA BONITA INCORPORATED CORPORATION TEXAS 8115 PRESTON ROAD DALLAS TEXAS 75225
(LAST LISTED OWNER) TACO BUENO RESTAURANTS, INC. CORPORATION BY CHANGE OF NAME TEXAS 3033 Kellway Drive Suite #122 Carrollton TEXAS 75006
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record STEVEN J. NATAUPSKY
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “TACO” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20000902.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20000902
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
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