February 24, 2020

Texas Monthly Creates a Tempting Job: Taco Editor

“It’s not my culture, per se,” he said. “I’ve just been adopted into it, in a manner of speaking, and I hope I can honor them.”

Since starting a weekly taco column at The Dallas Observer in 2010, Mr. Ralat has worked as the food and drink editor at the magazine Cowboys Indians; created his own website, Taco Trail; written about Mexican cuisine for national publications; and for the last four years, curated the Taco Libre festival in Dallas. Even his dogs are part of his taco-mania: He nicknamed them Beans and Cheese.

He is now writing a survey of regional tacos in the United States, “American Tacos: A History and Guide,” which the University of Texas Press will publish next year. He has been traveling across the country and taking regular trips to Mexico, doing archival research and tasting numerous varieties.

The state, once a part of Mexico, has a long taco history: Texan soldiers carried them in their pockets during the 1835 Texas Revolution, he said.

“I want to tell the stories of these foods, but, more importantly, the stories of the people who make the foods.” he said. “Context makes things tastier.”

In the current political climate, the ancestral taco might offer an opportunity for unity. Mexicans in the United States have been targeted by violence, as they were recently in the shootings that killed 20 people in El Paso.

“Tacos are a force for good,” Mr. Ralat said. His wife’s family, who are from El Paso, have been more concerned than usual since the shooting.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/10/dining/taco-editor-texas-monthly-jose-r-ralat.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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