This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.
There is almost a reverence when you think about the simple yet fundamental foundation of a taco: the tortilla — an understated element that has transcended borderlines as well as traveled into space. Mexican food has long intrigued this country, with its almost exotic looks and spicy flavors. In Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, Gustavo Arellano depicts the flavorful history of Mexican food in the USA, from cocoa beans and chili to the ever-present tacos and burritos. The arching history begins in Mexico City, with the appearance of la Virgen de Guadalupe and is told from a proprietary point of view. As Arellano suggests, there’s a need to have authentic Mexican food that does not lose its American-ness. But, as he also explains, authenticity is a thorny concept. After attending a fundraiser for the Latino Journalists of California where food critic Jonathan Gold criticized the supposed “authenticity” of Chef Rick Bayless, an online debate ensued about what constitutes authentic Mexican cuisine, prompting Arellano to write Taco USA. Arellano’s ¡Ask a Mexican! column has a circulation of more than two million in 38 markets (and counting). He has received the President's Award from the Los Angeles Press Club, an Impact Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and a 2008 Latino Spirit Award from the California State legislature. Arellano has appeared on the Today Show, Nightline, NPR's Talk of the Nation, and The Colbert Report.
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