Restaurants Amherst: The History of the Taco

restaurants amherst

Cinco de Mayo is just a couple of weeks away and we are gearing up for a good time at Monarquia. As an authentic Mexican restaurant, we bring you the flavors of Mexico right here in New Hampshire. We think that our commitment to tradition and authentic flavors makes us stand out from other restaurants in Amherst. Family recipes passed down from generations of cooks inspire all the dishes that we are pleased to serve to you.

In the spirit of authenticity and tradition, let’s take a look at one of the oldest Mexican foods, the taco.


Let’s mine the taco’s history.

While tacos certainly existed long before the Spanish arrived in Mexico, the word taco most likely originated with 18th-century silver miners. Hundreds of years before them, however, the indigenous people in the Valley of Mexico ate tacos filled with small fish. So when you’re visiting Mexican restaurants in Amherst, go ahead and order fish tacos on Cinco de Mayo. They are a traditional Mexican food!

But let’s get back to the silver miners. Tacos were a popular food among working-class Mexicans because they were portable and easy to eat. They were also (and still are) a simple way to get lots of nutrients into one meal. In the 18th century, silver miners in Mexico wrapped gunpowder in pieces of paper. They then inserted them into holes they carved in the rock face. The word taco referred to gunpowder rolled in paper before meat and vegetables rolled in a tortilla.


The tortilla debate.

In our last post, we tackled the corn versus flour tortilla debate. Whatever your preference is, we do know that corn tortillas predate flour by a couple hundred years. Corn (or maize as the Europeans called it) is a New World crop and the Spanish Conquistadors are responsible for introducing flour to Mexican cuisine. Both have their pros and cons flavor- and texture-wise, but they have both been around long enough to earn their place in traditional Mexican cuisine.


The taco comes to the U.S.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Mexican immigrants came to the U.S. to work on the railroads and they brought their traditional foods with them. Mexican women who came to Texas and California with their families became street vendors and the popularity of tacos spread to other communities of workers. As Mexicans began to assimilate into American society, they started to include other ingredients into their traditional dishes and family recipes. Ground beef, cheddar cheese, and iceberg lettuce are all common ingredients in tacos now, but they are Mexican-American additions.

Looking for traditional Mexican restaurants in Amherst? Come to Monarquia!

At Monarquia, we are proud to be a part of the long tradition of Mexicans sharing their family recipes with other Americans. If you are looking for Mexican restaurants in Amherst to visit on Cinco de Mayo—or if you just feel like Mexican food today—come give Monarquia a try.


Contact us at 603-554-8393 or order online!

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