Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food

Hardcover | September 6, 2012

byJeffrey M. Pilcher

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Planet Taco asks the question, "what is authentic Mexican food?" The burritos and taco shells that many people think of as Mexican were actually created in the United States, and Americanized foods have recently been carried around the world in tin cans and tourist restaurants. But thecontemporary struggle between globalization and national sovereignty to determine the meaning of Mexican food is far from new. In fact, Mexican food was the product of globalization from the very beginning - the Spanish conquest - when European and Native American influences blended to forge themestizo or mixed culture of Mexico. The historic struggle between globalization and the nation continued in the nineteenth century, as Mexicans searching for a national cuisine were torn between nostalgic "Creole" Hispanic dishes of the past and French haute cuisine, the global food of the day. Indigenous foods, by contrast, wereconsidered strictly declasse. Yet another version of Mexican food was created in the U.S. Southwest by Mexican American cooks, including the "Chili Queens" of San Antonio and tamale vendors of Los Angeles. When Mexican American dishes were appropriated by the fast food industry and carried around the world, Mexican elites rediscovered the indigenous roots of their national cuisine among the ancient Aztecs and the Maya. Even this Nueva Cocina Mexicana was a transnational phenomenon, called "NewSouthwestern" by chefs in the United States. Rivalries within this present-day gourmet movement recalled the nineteenth-century struggles between Creole, Native, and French foods. Planet Taco also seeks to recover the history of people who have been ignored in the struggles to define authentic Mexican, especially those who are marginal to both nations: Indians and Mexican Americans.

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Planet Taco asks the question, "what is authentic Mexican food?" The burritos and taco shells that many people think of as Mexican were actually created in the United States, and Americanized foods have recently been carried around the world in tin cans and tourist restaurants. But thecontemporary struggle between globalization and nat...

Jeffrey M. Pilcher first tasted Mexican food at the age of eighteen in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After recovering from the initial blast of salsa, he dedicated himself to studying the history and cuisine of Mexico. A professor of history at the University of Minnesota, he is the author of Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mex...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:September 6, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199740062

ISBN - 13:9780199740062

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction A Tale of Two TacosPart I: Proto-Tacos1. Maize and the Making of Mexico2. Burritos in the BorderlandsPart II: National Tacos3. From the Pastry War to Parisian Mole4. The Rise and Fall of the Chili Queens5. Inventing the Mexican American TacoPart III: Global Tacos6. The First Wave of Global Mexican7. The Blue Corn BonanzaConclusion The Battle of the Taco TrucksNotesSelect BibliographyIndex