The Legacy of Taco Bell 

Dear Mexican:

Why do so many Mexicans work for Taco Bell and El Pollo Loco? Don't they know that they only add a false credence to the belief that this is Mexican cuisine? The bastardizing of the truly great and diverse food of Mexico by the money-hungry corporations of the United States contributes, I feel, to the overall misconception about the diversity and culture of the Mexican people.

A Fat White Boy

Dear Gabacho:

If you're going to malign poor, defenseless multinationals, at least do it right. El Pollo Loco — a charbroiled chicken chain, for those of ustedes who don't yet live in ever-metastasizing Aztlán — was originally created by Mexicans for Mexicans, and the straightforward pollo plates aren't that guacátela. And Taco Bell, for all its sins, at least acts as a gateway drug for gabachos to learn about semi-Mexican flavors without forcing them to hang with wabs. (That happens when their daughters bring home cute day laborers.) No hard figures exist on how many Mexicans work at Taco Bell or El Pollo Loco, but if trying to better la raza's image and culture were the main reasons that Mexicans tried to find jobs, we'd all be applying at Univisión.

Dear Mexican:

Why do gabachas and gabachos get fake tans and lip enhancements and fake breasts, take salsa classes, hire Mexican housekeepers who will take care of their children and teach their kids Spanish, love Taco Bell, spend their time off in Mexico, buy land in Mexico, drool when they see Salma Hayek — yet spend all their waking time thinking about how to get rid of us and send us back? I would call that gabachismo: the irony of hating what you don't have.

An Honorary Mexican

Dear Gabacho:

'Mano, I haven't heard such a great repudiation of gabacho hypocrisy, when it comes to Mexis, since discovering Taco Bell's profits dropped when it used a Chihuahua as its mascot!

Dear Mexican:

I have been a regular customer of Taco Bell for at least 25 years now, and I have to ask: Do Mexicans consider the fare that's available there (or ever refer to it) as "Mexican food"? While I know that there are some of us, of European descent, who are outraged at the number of illegal immigrants (undocumented workers?) here, I can't help but wonder if the popularity of Taco Bell actually helps subvert anti-Latino feelings to some extent or other.

El Burrito Grande

Dear Gabacho:

Let's deport out of our minds the ironclad idea that Taco Bell isn't "Mexican" food or somehow a sui generis phenomenon. It's a regional variant of Mexican cuisine, just as the green-chile anything is the domain of New Mexico and southern Colorado, the puffy taco is a staple of San Antonio, and the fish taco first dominated in Southern California by way of Baja. That Taco Bell and its progeny have proved so ridiculously popular is a good thing, though, because what gabachos don't realize is that just before the Spanish hijos de puta finally conquered Tenochtitlán, the Aztecs crossbred the pinto bean with a strain of Montezuma's Revenge that ensured eternal worship of all things Mexican, from cheap labor to cheap food. Keep eating those enchiritos, America!

IN MEMORIUM: This column is dedicated to Taco Bell founder Glen Bell, who passed away on January 17 at age 86. May God grant Bell the afterlife's eternal reward — unlimited horchata, regional Mexican treasures like mole negro and aguachile, and certainly not what la campana sells — that's served in the cafeteria of Gehenna.

E-mail The Mexican at mexican@pitch.com; follow him on Twitter; or find him at myspace.com/ocwab, facebook.com/garellano and youtube.com/askamexicano; or write to him via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433. Letters will be edited for clarity, cabrones. And include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we'll make one up for you!

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