When I first meet people they have to ask “where are you from?” that’s when I know stereotyping will follow, wether purposely or unintentionally. Tacos, tequila and hot sauce (spicy foods) are associated with Mexicans. I get a lot of questions about what’s a “real taco” like if the others were fake and not actual food. Soft or hard shell? Sauce or none? Sides? So many questions that really don’t matter with who I am personally. Traditionally tacos come in soft corn tortillas not shells. Tacos are more of appetizers than a main dish in Mexico. Many of the foods that have been Americanized are appetizers due to the availability of transportation. Tacos can be eaten while walking and there for are sold in stands on streets, there are no seats. Seats are for restaurants and are usually expensive and only for those who can afford it. Actual meals/dishes are prepared at home with the family during diner. Hot sauce is a big part of the food we eat but not everyone likes it , even Mexicans (SURPRISE).
Then people ask me if a certain restaurant is authentic and my response is always is; no it Tex-Mex. Trying to Americanize an authentic plate and then claiming it’s authentic is very confusing. Just like when people can’t pronounce someone’s name and want to give them nicknames. Food was always problematic growing up with both parents from Mexico. During school lunches people would eat PB&J, lunchables, fruit snacks and all these exotic so called food while I had leftovers from last nights diner (rice, tamales, mole, chicken etc. Yeah it sounds sad but it was very delicious. My classmates would trade food with me or share food. The conflicts between what I wanted to eat for lunch vs what I ate for lunch really defines who I am. I identify with food a lot, loving to eat food not only makes me enslaved to food but also picky. Yes I do like to eat unhealthy food and from time to time I eat fast food/ not homemade. But I would rather have time to cook my own food during every meal preparing food starting from picking out ingredients to serving dishes to family/self but realistically I am only able to cook one meal a day. Having said so I not only identify with tacos but with actual food that was prepared by a human. Identity towards food should not be tied with what people classify as Mexican, Black, White, Asian etc. but with the actual taste. Food should not have classification to what race it should pertain.