When salsa overtook ketchup as this country's favorite condiment in the 1990s, America's century-long love affair with Mexican food reached yet another milestone. In seemingly every decade since the 1880s, America has tried new food trends from south of the border—chili, tamales, tacos, enchiladas, tequila, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and so many more—loved them, and demanded the next great thing.
As a result, Mexican food dominates American palates to the tune of billions of dollars in sales per year, from canned refried beans to frozen margaritas to ballpark nachos. It's a little-known history, one that's crept up on this country like your Mexican neighbors—and left us better for it. Now, Taco USA addresses the all-important questions: What exactly constitutes “Mexican” food in the United States? How did it get here? What's “authentic” and what's “Taco Bell,” and does it matter? What's so cosmic about a burrito? And why do Americans love Mexican food so darn much? Tacos, alas, sold separately.