Taco Bell Anyone? Today is National Taco Day, observed annually on October 4.
The history of tacos predates the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. Anthropological evidence shows the native people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos filled with small fish. At the time of the Spanish conquistadors, Bernal Diaz del Castillo documented the first taco feast enjoyed by Europeans. This meal was arranged by Hernan Cortes for his captains in Coyoacan. It is unclear why the Spanish used the word taco to describe this native food. One suggested origin is the word ataco, meaning stuff or to stuff.
In 1964, Roberto L. Gomez established The National Taco Council. The council sent a 55-pound taco to President Johnson in 1967.
Beginning from the early part of the twentieth century, various types of tacos have become popular in the United States and Canada. An early appearance of a description of the taco in the United States in English was in a 1914 cookbook, California Mexican-Spanish Cookbook, by Bertha Haffner Ginger. The most common type of taco in the US is the hard-shell, U-shaped version, first described in a cookbook, The good life: New Mexican food, authored by Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert and published in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1949.
These types are sold by restaurants and by fast food chains, while kits are readily available in most supermarkets. Even non-Mexican oriented fast food restaurants have sold tacos. Mass production of this type of taco was encouraged by the invention of devices to hold the tortillas in the U-shape as they were deep-fried. A patent for such a device was issued to New York restaurateur Juvencio Maldonado in 1950, based on his patent filing of 1947 (U.S. Patent No. 2,506,305). Such tacos are crisp-fried corn tortillas filled with seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and sometimes tomato, onion, salsa, sour cream, and avocado or guacamole.
Many restaurants offer specials for National Taco Day so lunch today off to Taco Bell anyone?