Tasty tacos: Americans crave this Mexican convenience food
Last year Americans ate over 4.5 billion tacos. That averages to over 400,000 a day.
Stephanie Webster, of Winchester, said she loves tacos not only because they’re easy to make, filling and you don’t dirty too many dishes while making them, but simply because they’re tasty.
“Very tasty,” Webster said. “The real question people should be asking themselves is ‘why wouldn’t you like tacos?'”
Mexican food and tacos are popping up on corners throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley and have also been steadily growing across the United States.
“The novelty of taco trucks has been increasing here too,” Webster said. “Which is convenient for quick lunches at the office or when you’re on the go.”
Crissy Willis, owner of Sexi-Mexi in Winchester, has noticed that millennials and hipsters have repurposed several types of global peasant foods, including tacos.
“For example, ramen, the ‘bowl’ genre and of course tacos,” Willis said. “All three of these foods provide a template or a format where experimental approach can be applied to an almost blank canvas.”
Mexican cuisine was introduced to the colonies in the 15th century when Spanish settlers shared their knowledge of new culinary techniques in Mexico along with new ingredients that included rice, cheese, poultry and beef.
Today, many of the same ingredients that are used in tacos, burritos and enchiladas are seen at Mexican restaurants. And then some.
They’re simple to make and portable, Willis said, and there are infinite variations of tacos. There are the classics but you really can add anything to give it an authentic Mexican flavor.
She added: “It’s all about creativity and taste buds.”
“People love the convenience,” Webster said. “For me, aside from being Mexican foods Number 1 fan, tacos are quick. When you have two kids like I do, and you go to a restaurant, I like to be in and out. Tacos make that to happen.”
“There’s been a resurgence of real tacos, not the crunchy corn shell kind, but the real deal Mexican street tacos,” Willis said.
Street and restaurant style tacos are traditionally served in a corn or maize tortilla and are stuffed with various types of meats including shredded pork, chicken, ground beef or fish. The filling for tacos typically depends on the individual but can include sauteed red and green peppers, onion, pickled cucumbers, chipotle chilies or avocados.
Vegetarians, shouldn’t despair. There are plenty of vegetable-based tacos including tacos made with potatoes, squash and radishes. Fillings include corn, black beans, Tufo or cabbage.
TacoPeton in Woodstock serves authentic Mexican street-style tacos.
“We have different varieties of meats and toppings with a rich fresh taste that reminds you of Mexico.”
A LOVE AFFAIR
It’s obvious that tacos have skyrocketed in popularity, securing a weekly spot in people’s minds, along with a hashtag: #tacotuesday.
“There are literally tons of taco types,” Willis said. “They come in all shapes and sizes, makes and designs. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like at least some form of a taco.”
Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s a taco for every person and every menu. After all, no two tacos are the same.