Ah, the mighty burrito – is it (really/even) Mexican food? Never has a cylindrical-shaped food purse been so unevenly debated and dissected at length – from origin to authenticity; to which and what fillings are allowed and not allowed.
Should it be fried? Can it be fried? Does rice in a burrito make the cut – or sense? Is putting lettuce in a burrito tantamount to original sin? Just how many fillings are allowed inside a burrito? And, Why is Guac Extra?
Perhaps a more apropos question would simply be – should we even care?
Since this blog began, I’ve
struggled cogitated with the notion of what recipes should or shouldn’t be featured; and if something happens to be featured should there be a disclaimer if it doesn’t meet some specific criteria? Oh by the way this isn’t really Mexican food but here’s a recipe anyways.
Perhaps I’m being too analytic for my own good; allowing the relatively pervasive foodie culture to determine my trajectory. Which, when I say it out loud sounds, well, kind of dumb of me.
There are many facets to the history of the burrito that are well, fascinating. Most notably that we don’t exactly know it’s origin – well one not properly documented anyways. The word itself popped up in historic record as far back as the late 1800’s and both northern & southern provinces lay claim to the dish’s humble beginnings – but a proper origin story we do not have.
There’s no radioactive spider or gamma rays here my friends.
Frankly, the burrito or any ‘ethnic’ food is hard to authenticate; historical records and early literature looking to both quantify & qualify food rarely focused on what was deemed ‘peasant food’. And while some books of late have done a good job of tracing the lineage of certain cuisines they tend to ask as many questions as they answer. So much so, that I often find myself back at square one when I put my head down and try to do actual research myself.
To be quite honest the only thing I do know is that Burritos are delicious. And I like to eat them. Isn’t that enough? I don’t know about you but when I sit down and think about the debate in a larger context, it just seems so pedantic; so superfluous – sorta irrelevant.
I was put on this earth to eat burritos – not debate them! (I say, as I sort of debate them – Ha!)
Don’t get me wrong, I love learning about the history of food – I think its one of the most amazing subjects we have. But I also have to remind myself that while we may revel in what we don’t know we often shun what we do know.
And what I do know is that I love burritos; all shapes, all sizes with all sorts of fillings and I have, for as far back as I can remember. Whether it was my grandmother throwing a bunch of whatnot in a fresh tortilla so I’d get out of her kitchen or the grand spectacle it was to order my first one off a restaurant menu – one thing has remained true: Burritos are amazing.
The only difference now, is that I’m vegan and I have sought out ways to replicate those flavors that still ring true on the tip of my tongue – but in my way.
The amazing thing is, being vegan has made me appreciate them (and food) even more, effectively blowing open the doors on any earlier perceptions I may have had – not just of a burrito but of food in general.
Being vegan means I don’t have to tie myself to convention; I can make my own way and do so in way befitting the life I’ve chosen. So whatever I put in a burrito (or taco, torta, for that matter) is what I put in a burrito – and that I do know.