Welcome to the taco culture!

January 14, 2021

Craving tacos in Germany

As a Mexican, eating tacos was part of my daily routine when I lived in my country. Tacos al pastor, tacos de lengua, tacos de canasta, tacos acorazados – tacos everywhere.

I arrived in Germany 5 years ago. Very soon, I started dreaming of tacos, the craving was real, and the need for the flavors that reminded me of Mexico was inevitable.

Driven by the craving, I tried making tacos in Germany. Firstly, a quick Google search yielded a recipe that didn’t seem complicated. Secondly, a purchase at the online Mexican grocery store provided what I couldn’t buy at the local supermarket. Most importantly, I announced with great fanfare to my husband that our dinner would be fancy, tacos. 

During the 4 hours I spent in the kitchen, I thought about how wonderful it would be to take that first bite of my tacos. Today I know that spending “only” 4 hours in the kitchen must have been the first red flag.

In conclusion, the flavor of the meat was nowhere near what my sensory memory recalled when I searched the taco file. It was a big disappointment. My husband, a German who has visited Mexico several times, was not as disappointed as I was. Our expectations were clearly different – and he didn’t want to bring me down.

The origin of Embajadora del Taco

Throughout my life, a very privileged one, I have had the opportunity to even have my favorite taqueria (taco eateries). At that time, I was not only looking for the flavors I already knew, but I was also going through a process of adaptation in another country and looking for identity through food. Comfort food.

Although I didn’t realize it, that’s when something started—my curiosity for the emotional need for tacos and to replicate the flavors I missed so much.

When my husband’s colleagues or German friends asked me what I missed most about Mexico, I immediately answered TACOS. Sorry mom, but I can’t FaceTime with tacos.

Curious about my answer, questions like: How many types of tacos are there in Mexico? Are they always eaten with hot sauce? Why do you eat them with your hand? What is the origin of the taco? What does taco mean?

 These are questions that I had never asked myself because, being something so familiar in Mexico, I don’t think we stop to question ourselves about something that is part of our everyday life. That’s where it all started.

 I tried to find answers for those who asked me, but then it became a search for information about what I was linking to my identity as a Mexican abroad: tacos. But the more I researched, the more I realized that there is actually a whole culture around tacos in Mexico. And it has expanded beyond the borders of my country.  

Taco Culture as My Personal Project

Embajadora del Taco is not about sharing recipes, because I have understood that there is no single recipe for the different types of tacos – and honestly, there are better projects that can offer better information on that topic. What I want to accomplish with this personal project is to share information that until a few years ago, I was unaware of.

There are many definitions of taco, some consider the taco a food itself and some do not; some definitions consider the taco a snack. For purposes of divulgation, in this project I will refer to the taco using the explanation from the Tacopedia by Debora Holtz and Juan Carlos Mena, who define the taco as a tortilla that wraps food.

As taco culture, I understand and study the set of norms around tacos. Where certain types of tacos are eaten, which ones are eaten in the morning and which ones are eaten at night, who eats them. As well as the use and social impact of tacos in Mexico and other parts of the world. Also understood as part of the taco culture are the ingredients, utensils and techniques used in the preparation.

Tacos have reached places as far away as we can imagine, they have positioned themselves in the collective imagination of locals and strangers alike. And, although it pains us in Mexican nationalism, they have adapted to be valued all over the world.

 So who knows, maybe in the not too distant future I will also share some recipes. In the meantime, I warmly welcome you to the taco culture!

Taste the taco culture.