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Dear Mexican: What’s with the surge in restaurants, from other grupos like Filipinos, Chinese, Salvadoran and other Latin Americans, that advertise Mexican food on their menu? They go so far as add “and Mexican Food” to their logos! Isn’t it hard enough to make authentic food for a respective native country, let alone add a second subgroup of food to the list? Are restaurants attempting to capitalize más feria with Mexican food to their menu? Or has comida mexicana come under attack from its commercial notoriety with gringos over the years thanks to Taco Bell and Chipotle? Is mainstream America to blame for other cultural groups mocking Mexican cuisine by slapping the food into their meals, like it was una Hot Pocket, ready in one minute? Or do they really look up to the mexicanos’ food?
Dear Chris Speaks: Cálmese, mi cabrón. It’s perfectly fine for other groups to sell Mexican food or combine their meals with ours to make something new; as I’ve written before, if it wasn’t for such mestizaje, we wouldn’t have al pastor (created by Lebanese), tequila (invented with European distillation methods), carne asada (courtesy of the Spaniards), arroz con leche (from the Moors), cerveza (Germans), pan dulce (French) and Tostilocos (pochos). It’s even perfectly fine for chinitos, gabachos and others to become rich off of Mexican food, as there are a lot of Mexicans who also get rich. Like a pot of tamales, there’s plenty for todos. The thing that the Mexican has a problem with is restaurants or companies insulting Mexican food — for instance, like saying tamales are a thing of the past, as McDonald’s did recently when it was promoting a McBurrito in interior Mexico (which is something like trying to sell Chef Boyardee in Milan), or like being Chipotle and inviting writers to pen mini-essays on cups and bags...and then not inviting a single Mexican-American writer to participate in the program. (If Chipotle CEO Steve Ells had any huevos, he’d excerpt the works of Chicana chingona Michele Serros, who recently passed away.) Besides, can you really blame some of these groups for wanting to draw in customers with Mexican food? Even Salvadorans aren’t such pendejos that they would try to make a fortune solely on pupusas, as delicious as they are. So just be proud of the fact that, once again, when America needs the job done right, it calls on Mexicans.