Part 2 

 Over the course of the semester I got the opportunity to learn about Latin American cuisine. When registering for taco literacy class I had no idea what to expect but this class blew my mind. My friends and family are so shocked when I tell them, but I have a class dedicated to tacos in transnational Mexican food . It’s hard to be aware of the impact that food has. Although, it is so significant. However this class, is done much more than teach me just about tacos.  The class inspired me to learn about the origins of the food of my own culture and that of my classmates.  Being able to interact with classmates about the food that they’re trying and watch videos of my classmates learning new recipes was very inspiring for me to do the same. Not only, has class taught me so much it has given me an opportunity to explore different dishes with my family and present different things at the dinner table. This semester I learned how important food is to people on social constructs. The way that we share foods is what keeps us connected as a people


Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to many different languages and cultures. As a kid, I lived in a primarily Black and Mexican area. Due to this ,most of my neighborhood spoke English or Spanish. Even now, a significant portion of my friends and family speaks Spanish. When I was a baby my mother spoke Spanish to me in hopes that I would be trilingual by adulthood. It didn’t work.

More often than not, my childhood friends will mix in some Spanish with English when they’re speaking to me and occasionally to their parents. When I arrived to New York, I was surprised to see people who looked like me speaking Spanish. Imagine my shock going from Mexican Spanish to Dominican Spanish. The little Spanish I knew was almost useless.

On my journey back to understanding and speaking Spanish, I will be utilizing Duolingo and forced emersion by way of semi-immersion


Just like people, salsa comes in many different styles and colors. Salsa Roja, Salsa Verde, and Pico de Gallo are just a few types of salsa you can have. We are able to have all of these salsa because in Spanish, salsa simply means sauce.

As a child I never really paid attention to the ingredients in salsa. I wasn’t aware that by only dripping my chip in the liquid sauce, was just the tip of the iceberg. When I discovered the depths of salsa my life was changed. Recently, my dad and I tried to make our own mango salsa. It came out pretty well so I’ll drop the recipe.

Mango Salsa Recipe


It would only be my luck to turn 21 while in quarantine. While I might not be able to celebrate in the way that I though I would, I will be celebrating with the same drink; tequila. Tequila may be the black out drink of choice, however, it’s history goes far beyond the days of college binge drinking.

As you may know, tequila is a product of the agave plant. Created in the 1500’s in the city of Tequila, but it was until 80 years after its creation that it was mass produced in the city of Jalisco, Mexico. The Cuervo family was the first family to be granted permission to sell tequila commercially. Thanks to the Spain’s king, Carlos, we now have the brand we know and love, Jose Cuervo ESPECIAL .

Wrapping up this brief history lesson, the next time you see tequila remember that it’s made of sugar and will kill ya.

Inventing Authentic

Creating new foods to increase tourism is certainly not a new concept. Over time there are several things that many believe to be a certain country or city’s original cuisine. When in fact, the dish was created to create and maintain foodie tourist. This practice is seen in Latin American, European and Asian Cultures across the board. For example, you may think General Tso chicken is the best in China, when it really isn’t even a original or traditional Chinese dish. (General Tso is not a real person.)

My family and I have a home in Zanzibar and we often visit the local restaurants around us. Recently, the restaurant has created dishes that we know are not Tanzanian. (They’ve also added burgers and fries to the menu.) However, when people come and they try these made up things, they will always have the thought that the place and the food go together. 

Another example of this is spaghetti. Many sources say it originated it China and Marco Polo brought the receipt back to Venice. Where it picked up its reputation for being a traditional Italian dish.


Sangria, originally from Spain, but sent from Heaven. Across Latin America, many people have adopted sangria and created their own versions and recipes. From these new versions many believe that Central America created white sangria, also known as, sangria blanca (White sangria over red. Debate me in the comments.)

Although, sangria is said to have originated in Spain, it is a successor of Sanagree. Sangaree was created in the Caribbean/West Indie. It wasn’t until the 1950’s and 60’s that it was adopted by Hispanic Americans and Latin Americans in New York.

What’s your favorite kind of sangria?

The Mission Burrito

If the burrito doesn’t have rice, I don’t want it. My hometown of Oakland, California is just a 15 minute drive to the origins of the mission burrito. Where I’m from a burrito with rice is the standard. Imagine my surprise when I took y first trip to Mexico, only to find beans and chicken soiling out. Gross!!! In my mind, the mission burrito was the only way to make a burrito. I had no idea this wasn’t normal.

The Mission Burrito originates in the Mission District of San Francisco. You’ll find the best burritos as mom&pop Taqueria’s or taco trucks. Because its origins are so close to my home, there are very few times I’ve come across a burritos without rice or guac. I hope it says that way.

Recently, a friend of mine posted a picture of his burrito on social media. The burrito looked amazing to me, minus the big bite taken out of it. When I looked at the caption, it stated “who puts rice in a burrito.” Obviously, I had to respond telling him this was the highest form of burrito. He responded with “Gross!!!”


When my friends say they’re going on a diet, they are usually lying. They will list off the things that they’re no longer able to eat and Mexican food usually falls within the top 10 right after pasta. They say this and then proceed to eat meals from Chipotle.

How did Chipotle, apart from their giant Ecoli scandal, get to be known as healthy fast food. When you walk in they have the calories of each item in bold. These calories don’t differ much from traditional family owned Mexican restaurants. H\\ow was Chipotle able to gentrify Mexican food and make it appeal to the health conscious foodie.

Many athletes I know, think Chipotle is the equivalent to a salad. As we go through the semester, I will be doing a through investigation as to who started the narrative that a Chipotle burrito/bowl is better for you. Welcome to my semester long TED talk.

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