If you didn’t know, Oct 4. is the national holiday for celebrating the creation of a staple dish consisting of meat folded between a flour or corn tortilla. Tacos are an essential part of a Californian’s diet, especially as college students because we all need those late-night taco runs to keep us going. This year, let’s appreciate this simple, yet flavor-packed dish by learning a bit of its history and remembering why we love it so much.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com

Where It All Started:

The history of where and when the taco came from is complicated: According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the dish originated from workers in Mexico’s silver mines, which eventually led to taquerías in the working-class neighborhoods, but its origins are heavily debated. Traditional Mexican tacos are tacos al pastor (“shepherd style”), in which pork steaks seasoned with adobo seasoning are skewered, cooked and flame-broiled while spinning on a rotisserie, but tacos can be made with a variety of fillings like beef, pork or chicken and garnished with salsa, guacamole, cilantro, onions and lettuce. Since it has reached the U.S., many other cultures have added their own twists to the dish, creating a fusion of flavors between a variety of cuisines.

Why We Love Tacos:

1. No utensils needed. Sometimes we just can’t muster up the energy to do the dishes, even if it’s just a plate and fork. And let’s face it: Food tastes better when we eat it with our hands.
2. Endless flavor possibilities. You can get so creative with taco fillings and garnishes and in today’s culinary world–the sky’s the limit. I love tasting the wild fusion creations of Asian-style fillings with a soft taco, but good ol’ taco truck carne asada and carnitas tacos can satisfy my hungry stomach any day.
3. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Tacos make your tastebuds, wallet and soul happy.

Taco Day Activities:

1. Hit up a local taco joint: I know it’s not Taco Tuesday, but Lily’s Taquería is a must!
2. Create your own taco: Head over the Co-op for some tortillas and meat and get cooking! It’s perfect way to celebrate with an easy lunch or dinner idea.
3. Give the gift of tacos: If you like deals, Taco Bell is bringing back their National Taco Day Gift Set. Priced at $5, customers can get a set including a Crunchy Taco, Fiery, Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos.

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