Gustavo Arellano, an editor at OC Weekly, is having no trouble drumming up publicity for his new book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. On the heels of an April 18 LA Times piece and April 30 item in the New York Times comes today’s Q&A in the Orange County Register.
When his agent first suggested an overview of how Mexican food has evolved in the U.S., Arellano assumed the topic had already been covered. But to his amazement,he discovered it had only been properly documented for academic purposes. Later on, Arellano stumbled across an untold bit of Mexican OC food lore:
“On the local scene, the best example [of what I learned] was discovering how Doritos were invented at Disneyland by workers at Alex Foods, a Mexican-food company based in Anaheim run by the Morales family.
They’re now known as Don Miguel Mexican Foods and are based in Orange; meanwhile, Alex Foods’ famous XLNT tamale still is sold. But the Doritos story was never told publicly until Taco USA.
Arellano also reveals in the OC Register OC Latino Link blog conversation that the only SoCal restaurant that serves his favorite Mexican dish of chocolate, pork shoulder, lard and four chilis (“asado de boda jerezano”) is a place in Huntington Beach called Tacos Jerez.
[Cover courtesy Scribner Books]