Oregon State University

Planet Taco

The Globalization of Mexican Cuisine

Historian Jeffery Pilcher sympathizes with the chagrin of Mexicans who find Tex-Mex wherever they travel. 

28 Jan 2008, Oregon State University


Pilcher poster

Jeffrey Pilcher

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  • streaming video
  • Jeffrey M Pilcher grew up in the Midwest and is now a professor of history at the University of Minnesota. He has been fascinated by Mexican cuisine since his first visit to New Mexico, when a mouthful of salsa sent steam boiling out his ears. His current research project, to eat Mexican food in as many countries as possible, provides the material for “Planet Taco.”

    Mexican food has joined Chinese and Italian as one of the three most popular ethnic varieties in the United States, although many people know that the tacos and burritos they eat are no more representative of the cuisines of Mexico than chop suey and pizza are of Chinese and Italian. In this talk, Jeffrey examines early American encounters with Mexican food, including the chili “queens” of San Antonio and the taco shops of Southern California. He also shows how the resulting stereotypes have been carried around the world.


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