Tacos y Tacones (Tacos and Footwear)

Last Updated: October 25, 2012 by
Categories: Mexico

TacosBy SUSANNAHR, mexicoretold.com -- I never imagined that I would write a blog that contained the themes of food and footwear at the same time. However, today my mind made the delightful little connection I will share with you, based on two confusions of life in Mexico.

So, let’s start with my food-related confusion, specifically a taco-related issue. In England, a taco is a hard yellow- coloured tortilla shell filled with chili con carne and topped with soured cream and lettuce. In Mexico, I have never even seen one of those tacos. Here a taco is a small soft corn tortilla or two, filled with various types of meat and garnished with coriander (cilantro), onions, zested with lime and toped with guacamole or salsa. So what happened? Did the taco just go stale and old in transportation or what could have occurred for us Brits to get such a different idea? Well, based on extensive (!) internet research, I discovered that according to the ever-insightful Wikipedia, the hard taco shell appeared in cookbooks in the United States from as early as 1917 and they were later popularized by Glen Bell of Taco Bell fame in the 1950s. So it looks like England got fed the Americanised deep-fried version of the Mexican taco and we were none the wiser! Hard tacos I can take or leave but soft tacos have become an addiction.

In Spanish when you add the suffix – “on” to something it means that it is extra good. So a super taco would be called a tacón. A tacón for me would be a freshly made taco al pastor ( a soft tortilla topped with thin slices of marinated meat shorn from a donna kebab style skewer) with a little bit of pineapple and all the garnish. Salty, sweet, spicy perfection. Give me two or three and I have the perfect tacones!

So here is how we make the leap to shoes. Tacones is in fact the Spanish word for high heels but the word could also in effect mean two or more really super tacos. And it is here that we have the delightful play on words that allowed me to imagine two tightly rolled tacos as the heels of women’s favoured footwear in Mexico. And there we have it, a link between food and shoes in one blog.

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