Burrito Day is a day some people consider more exciting than Thanksgiving, Christmas, and their birthday combined (No? Maybe it’s just me then). Today is a day to celebrate one of the most beloved and versatile Mexican dishes. This dish is so versatile in fact that it can often inspire an argument about what is the best kind of burrito filling. For those who want to inspire a conversation (or maybe are in the mood for an argument) you can ask your friends and coworkers the following questions about burritos. Should burritos have french fries in them as seen with the California burrito? How important is rice in the burrito and if they answer yes what kind of rice is best? Finally, how much guacamole is too much guacamole in a burrito? Today is a day to enjoy your favorite type of burrito and maybe learn about a different kind that you’ve never considered before.
History of the Burrito
Before the creation of burritos, the native people of Mexico often used corn tortillas to wrap their foods. These tortillas were often filled with chili peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, squash, and avocados. The Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest also made similar dishes. However, these tortillas were filled with meat and beans and are closer to the origin of a taco than a burrito. The origin of the burrito we eat today is unknown. In 1895 in Diccionario de Mejicanismos by Feliz Ramos i Duarte, the burrito is identified as a regional food in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. In this book, the burrito is defined as a rolled tortilla with meat and other various ingredients inside. Most people believe that the burrito originated in the 19th century with the cowboys of northern Mexico.
There is a folk tale about the origin of the burrito that is often repeated. In the tale, a man named Juan Mendez was a taco seller in a Bella Vista neighborhood. He often used a donkey to transport himself and his food. To keep the food warm he often wrapped it in homemade tortillas and placed the wrapped food underneath a tablecloth. This dish was surprisingly popular and called “food for the burrito” which means “food of the little donkey”. Eventually, the name just became burrito for this dish.
There is another popular story about the creation of the burrito that takes place in the 1940’s. In this tale a street food vendor created the burrito to give to children of low income families at the state run school. The vendor called these children that he served “burritos” because “burro” is a term for someone lacking in intelligence. This rude but endearing term eventually transferred to the food he was selling and that is how the modern burrito was born.
Burritos didn’t appear in America until the 1930’s. They first appeared in a Mexican restaurant called El Cholo Spanish Cafe in Los Angeles. This dish wasn’t noticed by the media until 1934 when it appeared in a Mexican cookbook. In 1956, the frozen burrito was developed. Today this dish is overwhelmingly popular and is the main dish at many Mexican restaurants and chains. So celebrate this holiday the right way by picking up a burrito or maybe making your own!