No one is sure when tacos were first eaten. There is evidence that people in the Valley of Mexico ate tacos filled with fish. There is historical documentation that supposedly the first Europeans to feast on tacos was at a dinner that Hernán Cortés gave for his captains.
Have you ever heard of Norwegian tacos?
My theory is that Norwegians, then known as Vikings created the taco when they arrived in Newfoundland and began trading with the native Americans. My guess is that they took Indian Fry Bread and wrapped it around some lutefisk. From Newfoundland the delicacy spread southward. Tacos could have spread northward, but corn doesn’t fare well in the Northern Territories. Indian Fry Bread and corn tortillas use corn meal as their base. This connection with tacos and Norway is still strong. Of course you might guess that Mexico eats the most tacos in the world. You also might assume that the United States is second, but no. Norway is #2 in taco consumption world wide. True.
As a teenager I remember buying Old El Paso crisp tortillas, cans of re-fried beans, and tins of enchilada sauce at a little market in Ponders Corner. I’m not sure if I ate the Old El Paso version first or the Tacoma Time version from the fast food restaurant on Bridgeport Way in Lakewood.
A taco is a folded corn or flour tortilla with a filling of meat or vegetables, or both. Cheese, sour cream, and salsa usually are added. Tortillas can be crispy, or slightly warmed on a grill. My last tacos were two beer brats grilled on a gas barbecue. When the brats were done, I threw two corn tortillas on top of them and closed the cover for about a minute. I added strips of red and green bell peppers, lettuce, and shredded sharp cheddar. For flavoring I used a jar of Safeway’s Mango and Lime Signature brand salsa and a few shakes of Tapatio.
I still love the salsa at Tacoma Time. I almost always order the Crispy Burrito Platter, which comes with a deep-fried flour tortilla rolled around taco meat, re-fried beans, a crispy corn tortilla taco, chips, and a salad. I usually order an extra burrito to share with my wife Peggy, too. Since our grandson works for Taco Bell, I now eat their tacos as well. I love their taco shells made from Doritos ingredients. If you like Mexican food you might want to read reviews here: eating-out-tacoma.com/Ethnic-Restaurants.html#BG3
In restaurants like El Toro, El Sabor, and taco trucks I usually order tacos or better yet, street tacos.
A “street taco” is usually a small soft corn tortilla filled with your choice of meat and comes with lots of veggies and a lime for squeezing. There are usually two corn tortillas to assure that nothing falls apart. I’m still saddened by The Funky Iguana going out of business a year or two ago. I would order their three street tacos with pork, beans, rice, and salsa for less than $8.
I was talking tacos in Centralia a few years ago with a stranger. He was Mexican-American and proud of his family’s restaurant. They used “traditional” ingredients. I perked up and asked, “Do they serve goat?” His friendly smile faded and he dropped his head and said, “No.” Although Vuelve a la Vida is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, but I have not been there in some time. I must remedy this. How many restaurants do you know that serve goat and beef cheeks?
While I like meat in my tacos, Peggy prefers fish. She has blue eyes, so perhaps there is Norwegian blood somewhere in her heritage.
A 2012 study revealed that 400,000 Norwegians (8.2% of Norway’s population) participate in “Fredagstaco.” They eat Americanized tacos, but even so, a million or so Norwegians gather to share tacos every Friday, now. It’s a tradition.