National Taco Day: History behind the traditional Mexican dish

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Get ready to head to your favorite taco spot on Monday. October 4 is National Taco Day!

According to the National Taco Day website, the traditional Mexican dish has become a favorite meal in the United States. In 2020, Americans ate over 4.5 billion tacos, which is equivalent to 490,000 miles of the food.

As the dish is now so widely available, its history has many suggested origins. However, according to Expert Jeffrey M. Pilcher, the word originates from the silver mines in Mexico in the 1700s when taco referred to small explosives workers used to extract the ore.

“The first references [to the taco] in any sort of archive or dictionary come from the end of the 19th century,” Pilcher said online. “And one of the first types of tacos described is called tacos de miners, or, miner’s tacos. So the taco is not necessarily this age-old cultural expression; it’s not a food that goes back to time immemorial.”

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