Tacos are a staple food of Hispanic culture, especially in a city like San Antonio that prides itself on their breakfast taco scene compared to other Texas cities. A new TV series is taking it a step beyond the eggs and chorizo wrapped in flour or corn tortilla.
Two taco journalists are exploring the story, memory and culture behind the taco and how certain regions have become famous for their cooking methods.
Mando Rayo and co-host Jarod Neece traveled to eight U.S. cities to explore the taco culture in those communities. From brisket tacos made by proud Mexican-Americans in Austin, to nixtamal corn tortillas in New York City with origins dating back centuries to the Aztecs. Rayo and Neece sit down with the chefs and owners of these businesses to share their story with a national audience.
“We use tacos as the Trojan horse to understand people, their culture, and those community issues that are connected,” Rayo says. “The story of where that food comes from. And it just all of a sudden didn't pop up in some gentrified area of any city. It has roots, family roots, whether it's a region in Mexico or here in Texas.”
For Rayo and Neece, their taco journalism first began with a blog in 2006. That soon led to their first book, “Austin Breakfast Tacos,” followed by “The Tacos of Texas,” which was accompanied by a seven-part online series on YouTube in 2018.
Fronteras caught up with Rayo while he was in San Antonio earlier this month. He says he’s hopeful for a second season to continue exploring the diversity of tacos as well as the cultures, people, and issues behind them.
Listeners can view episodes of United Tacos of America here.