BY GUSTAVO ARELLANO
SPECIAL TACO BELL EDITION
Why do so many Mexicans work for Taco Bell and El Pollo Loco? Don’t they know 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 U.S., I feel, contributes 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 their 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 necessarily hang with wabs (that happens when their daughters bring home some cute day laborer). 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 was the main reason why Mexicans try to find jobs, we’d all be applying at Univisión.
Why do gabachas and gabachos get fake tans, lip enhancements, 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!
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 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 to subvert anti-Latino feelings to some extent or other.
El Burrito Grande
Dear Gabacho: Let’s deport out of our minds the iron-clad idea that Taco Bell isn’t "Mexican" food, or somehow a sui generis phenomenon. It’s a regional variant of Mexican cuisine, just like green chile-anything is the domain of New Mexico and southern Colorado, the puffy taco a staple of San Antonio, and why the fish taco first dominated in Southern California by way of Baja. That Taco Bell and its progeny have proven 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 cross-bred the pinto bean with a strain of Montezuma’s Revenge that ensures 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 two weeks ago 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.