Five Times Austinites 'Discovered' Tacos
It's National Taco Day, apparently. While that may be a fake holiday – and, arguably, tacos are celebrated on an hourly basis in Austin – it's an excuse to eat a taco. There are worse problems to have. But Austin's relationship with the taco is complicated.
Some have argued it's the home of the breakfast taco. Those people are wrong, but they're not the first to "Columbus" the taco. Here's a quick primer of misguided hot takes on purported taco discoveries.
An Austin Daily Statesman article described tortillas and tacos in an 1887 piece entitled "A Mexican Dinner." The piece detailed staples like flautas, frijoles and caldo, describing tortillas as akin to "boarding house buckwheat cakes" and asserting that tacos were consumed as "an American would nibble at a lady finger."
1953: Guacamole on tacos
Statesman correspondent Virginia Snow's revelation came in a piece entitled "If It's Chili Con Carne You Want, Mexico City Isn't the Place for It":
Poor innocent. "Chili con carne" is harder to find here than a genuine Aztec idol...Strangely enough, you can eat in Mexican restaurants without feeling like a flame eater with tonsilitis. Order your guacamole (alligator pear mashed with chili, tomato, onions and parsley), if you like, "no picante." This means "not hot" and is pronounced pee-kann-ta.
1968: Taco Pizza?
In 1968 a short little blurb in the Statesman detailed an aberration that would make a taco-loving Texas chili fan livid: a "taco pizza" that featured chili – with beans. While the addition of beans does make sense in the grander scheme, the combo is a questionable prospect, at best, and reads as if it was written on the back of a cocktail napkin.
Try a taco pizza...using regular pizza mix. Prepare the dough and spread first with 15 1/2 oz. size can of chili with beans. Then add tomato sauce topping, contained in pizza package. Bake. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion and shredded Cheddar cheese on top. Ole!
1971: Lobster Tacos
John Abney's piece for the Statesman in July of 1971 detailed an odyssey of eating a taco in Ensenada, Mexico that just happened to be filled with lobster:
The courious [sic] thing about the lobster around here is that he is getting himself served in tacos. Wrapped in a tortilla (a corn flap jack) and sprinkled with onion and chili. The Baja, California lobster is a noble denizen of the deep. A sort of Cadillac in the fish world who in no way lacks personality nor status...Meanwhile, they get stuck in tacos here and the true gourmets consider this something like refusing to observe Mothers Day. The connoisseur will speak to you of lobster thermidor, lobster curry or lobster drouant. Lobster tacos he will not even discuss.
1972: Crab Tacos
The Austin American-Statesman detailed "a new taco treat" in 1972 – a taco with crab meat:
Crab Tacos are a new and delicious version of the popular Mexican snack. Another bonus, there is no cooking involved. To 4 cup drained and sliced crab add 2 tablespoons chopped green onion. 1/4 cup club sauce, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper seasoning. Along with the tasty crab filling offer shredded lettuce, finely diced tomato and sharp grated cheese. serve hot crisp tortillas and let each guest make their own tacos.