What can one expect from a food connoisseur such as Gustavo Arellano? Nothing but the best of course….the wonderful writer and editor for the OC Weekly has once again released a new book for mass consumption. In fact this is what this book may make you want to do, and that is because of the topic it covers. In his new book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, he discusses the ins and outs of Mexican food in United States as well as goes into a lot of trivial stuff such as where Doritos were invented, to how Glen Bell conjured up the idea for Taco Bell.

I had the pleasure of attending the book signing at the Fullerton Public Library on April 12, 2012, and what can I tell you. The house was full and hot sauce was provided courtesy of Gringo Bandito. Being that this assignment was to ask three individuals a set of questions, I did just that and below are some of the responses.


Why did you come to this event?

I wanted to come and see one of my favorite individuals, and hopefully get him to sign my book.

How did you hear about the event?

Being that I am an avid reader of the OC Weekly, I knew about the event for a while now, but KROQ actually had a bit on it so that is how I got here.

Did you enjoy the event?

Yes, of course it was interesting and fun to see such a great person from Orange County that could possibly share so many similar experience as myself. Also it is not everyday that you get to see celebrities even if it may be a local one. ( She proceeded to laugh)

Is this the first book signing you ever attend?

Unfortunately, this is the first signing I have been too, but the big reason I came out is because I constantly follow his work.

What would you say you favorite Mexican dish is?

Oh boy, where to start, and in fact I am not sure if I can just name one. For the sake of time I would have to say that mole is one of my favorite dishes that I would enjoy eating any day, along with a side of home made corn tortillas.

Marilyn/ Karina

Why did you ladies come to this event?

We actually came because we live in the area, and heard about it through KROQ. We kind of just pushed each other to come because we like Gustavo’s stuff, and are big fans.

How did you hear about the event?

Like we said thanks to KROQ we heard about the event, and if hadn’t been  because of that we wouldn’t be here.

Did you enjoy the event?

It was great, and worth while because we wanted to see him as well as get our books signed. He is like a celebrity to us, and enjoy listening when he speaks.

Is this the first book signing you ever attend?

It actually isn’t because we both have been to other signings for more fiction books that we enjoy reading.

What would you say your favorite Mexican dish is?

When it comes to both of us we really enjoy eating sopes with green salsa. If anything homemade sopes are the best and probably what we both eat the most when it comes to Mexican food.

Senor Arellano

As crazy as it may seem I actually had the opportunity to speak to Gustavo’s father; what was suppose to be an interview with him turned into a conservation about where to get good carnitas as well as carne asada. Senor Arellano talked to me about how proud he was of all his children because of his background as an immigrant who had limited access to education. Also he even went into how certain things about coming to the U.S. were difficult, but that now things are better and is happy to be here. He even went on to tell me how much he enjoyed tacos with the red sauce from King Taco on 3rd street in East LA. I think if time would have permitted he would of kept going, but being that he had to go, he did give me one suggestion that if I wanted good carne asada that I should go to La Vendita in Carson.

This event was not only entertaining but also very uplifting. The reason being that finally an individual has come out, and brought light upon the fact that people may not like Mexican but they sure love the food!

Quotes about the book

In this entertaining nod to culinary and cultural histories, journalist Arellano traces the roots of Mexican food in the U.S. and explores the cuisine’s many offshoots, underscoring why salsa is now our #1 condiment… Arellano makes the point, one that’s particularly relevant in today’s heated immigration debate, that as much as some Americans may protest Mexican immigrants, they’re in love with Mexican food.”Publishers Weekly
“An appealing cultural exploration of Mexican food in the United States…. Readers will come away not only hungry, but with a deeper understanding of the Mexican people and their cuisine.”Kirkus

“[Arellano] manages to squeeze in mentions of just about every Mexican restaurant (including, believe it or not, both Taco Cabana and the dining room of the Austin Hyatt), product line, and preparation in the country. If you’ve ever wondered about the roots of Taco Bell or why fajitas are called that or who invented the frozen-margarita machine, you’ll find answers here.”Slate Magazine


About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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