California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Mexican-American Author To Discuss ‘Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America’

Published: May 1, 2012

Nationally best-selling author and syndicated columnist Gustavo Arellano will discuss his newest book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, on Wednesday, May 2, in an evening presentation at CSULB.

Sponsored by the CSULB History Department, the lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the campus’ Lecture Hall (LH) 151 and will be followed by a question-and-answer session as well as a book signing. The event is free and open to the public.

“Last spring, I organized an on-campus event with Gustavo Arellano that was well attended and quite successful. I knew this spring was the perfect time to welcome him back to campus since his new book was published on April 10,” said Michelle Stonis, CSULB History Department lecturer and organizer of the event. “Just like the salsa that Arellano writes about, food studies is a hot and burgeoning field of academic inquiry. In his latest book, Arellano has found a successful recipe that blends a detailed account of Mexican cuisine with spicy commentary about the nation that is consuming it.”

In Taco USA, Arellano presents a trip through the history and culture of Mexican food in this country, uncovering stories and charting the cuisine’s popularity in El Norte. The book combines history, cultural criticism and personal anecdotes to give readers some little-known history on the subject.

For example, when salsa overtook ketchup as this country’s favorite condiment in the 1990s, America’s century-long love affair with Mexican food reached yet another milestone. In seemingly every decade since the 1880s, America has tried new food trends from south of the border—chili, tamales, tacos, enchiladas, tequila, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and so many more—loved them, and demanded the next great thing. As a result, Mexican food dominates American palates to the tune of billions of dollars in sales per year, from canned refried beans to frozen margaritas and ballpark nachos.

Gustavo Arellano

Arellano is editor of the OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County. He also writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column with a circulation of more than two million in 36 markets. Also a contributing editor to the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times, he has appeared on “Today,” “Nightline,” NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and “The Colbert Report.”

Arellano 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 Legislature for his “exceptional vision, creativity and work ethic.”

For more information on the Arellano lecture, contact Stonis.

–Rick Gloady