It's Taco Tuesday so let me ask you this: Do you prefer hard shell tacos (Tacos Dorados) or soft shell tacos?
I grew up with my mother's hard shell tacos. It was all I knew. Later my wife made the hard shell tacos she learned from her mother.
The hard shell taco is a product of Mexican American (or Chicano) and not so much Mexican cooking and in all it's forms it probably is a product of Tex Mex cooking.The hard shell taco means home to me.
I was 19 the first time I had a soft shell taco. In reality it is just called a taco. My uncle Angel, who grew up in Boyle Heights never saw one either. When I began working with him in 1974, he told me to get some tacos off the lunch tuck. I did and it was the beginnng of a beautiful relationship!
I'm not saying they were not around at all, I'm saying I never saw them at the restaurants, or burrito stands or trucks until 1974. It was probably different at home, just not my home.
It seems like almost over night they were everywhere. The competition was tough so they had to be good. Mexican food began to change during the mid to late 1970's. This was the beginning of authentic Mexican cooking.
Still, when I hear someone say "Taco" it's my wife's hard shell tacos that comes to mind. It means home!