I heard today on the radio that the founder of Taco Bell died. Glen Bell (so that's where the name came from... hm, I did not know that) was heralded as making Mexican food the mainstream staple of the American diet that it is today. I can't argue, in fact I had enchilladas for dinner last night and lunch today. (And they were delicious, Leah!)
I haven't thought about it in a long time, but as great a cook as my mom was, when we were growing up in New Jersey in the 60s and 70s, we didn't eat much ethnic food beyond spaghetti and chili. (And they were delicious, Mom!) Pizza was a treat, chips and salsa were unheard of, and it was a 25 minute drive to the nearest Chinese restaurant.
We did have some friends who moved to California in 1970, and as an airline family, we had the advantage of being able to visit them in Orange County a couple times a year. It was at their house that I tasted my first "taco". Soft corn tortillas were laid flat on a baking sheet with a slice of American cheese on each. While those warmed in the oven, plain ground beef was sauteed with nothing but salt and maybe black pepper. We folded the tortillas over the beef with some iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, and onion to complete the dish, and it was so good, that we packed tortillas in our suitcases and kept them in the freezer so that we could enjoy tacos at home.
Our friends thought we were sooo weird.