Today on the tray: Yo quiero Taco Bell!

October 4 is National Taco Day.

According to

In 2012, Americans ate 4.5 billion tacos! That’s 490,000 miles of tacos, which could take you to the moon and back or, if you prefer, could, at 775-million pounds, equal the weight of two Empire State Buildings.

The word taco is the Mexican equivalent of the English word sandwich.  The tortilla, which is made of corn or wheat, is wrapped or folded around a filling that is generally made of spiced proteins such as beef, pork or fish.

original Taco Bell
The original Taco Bell in Downey, Calif.

Here are some important dates in taco history:

  • 18th century: In Mexico, silver miners use the word “taco” to refer to the explosives used to excavate the ore. This is the first known use of the word.
  • 1962: Glen Bell opens the first Taco Bell in Downey, California. (This is also where the Carpenters came from, so Downey has given us at least two things that are cheesy.)
  • 1997: A chihuahua first utters the catchphrase,”Yo quiero Taco Bell!”

The canine actor who played the Taco Bell chihuahua was named Gidget. With her big eyes and button nose, she was even cuter than Sally Field. Gidget was initially cast as the female chihuahua in the commercial, but then she was recast as the male lead character, crossing genders in the tradition of Shakespearean actors of the Renaissance. However, her lovely, lilting voice didn’t suit the role, so it was dubbed with a male voice. To find out more about Gidget, read her biography.

Original “Yo quiero Taco Bell!” commercial (1997)

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