Written by Kon-Tiki Taco
There is no lack of taco cuisine in the world. But it’s a mistake to think of tacos as a singular dish. In California as elsewhere, it clearly is not.
A Chicago food blogger recently asked the question: “Is there such a thing as too much tacos?” Note where he was – Chicago, not Texas or Arizona or California – and the fact he felt compelled to ask this question.
Is this evidence that there are tacos everywhere? Easily, that is quite possible. Does it imply one has too many taco opportunities in his or her life? That point might be debatable. Yes, there are many types of tacos available – there are mass-market fast food chains, as well as the mom-and-pop taquerias, food truck tacos, and gourmet taco catering, including those that specialize in fish taco catering and vegan taco catering. The higher-end taco purveyors also offer top-shelf selections from their margarita bar. It is fair to say that everyone has tacos available to them – but what kind of taco might be a different story to every individual.
Which leads to another question: As a society have we become too dependent on tacos?
Of course, that’s a silly question. Maybe it’s because they are so versatile, varied and easy to eat that tacos are readily available. And yet we never tire of them. Think of the infinite variety of ingredients, spices, toppings and textures of a taco. One could conceivably eat tacos every night for a year and never have the same meal twice.
From a health standpoint, that is not necessarily a bad idea. The taco can be a healthy, nutritious mix of carbohydrates, fiber, protein and antioxidant/micronutrient-rich vegetables. The spices, red peppers in particular, in caliente foods are strongly believed to have beneficial effects on one’s metabolism and glucose levels.
In fact, spicy foods have an ability to limit overeating. Research out of Purdue University found that capsaicin, the component of chili peppers that give a dish its “heat,” can both reduce hunger and increase energy expenditure (calorie burning). “We found that consuming red pepper can help manage appetites and burn more calories after a meal,” said the professor of foods and nutrition who conducted the research.
Of course too much of a margarita bar might diminish those results for some individuals. But that is the diner’s choice, of course.
Back to Chicago – where state laws limit food trucks so taco catering there is vastly overshadowed by those in Southern California – the blogger, who describes himself the Cookie Monster of the taco world, went on a tacos-every-night binge in restaurants and taquerias. Here’s what he said on the sixth day, a Saturday night: “At this point, it’s miraculous I am not yet “taco’d out”. It turns out there is no such thing as too much tacos!
Is that dependency? Given the nature of healthful, varied tacos, we say no.