Did you know that May is "Salad Month"?
Yes, it is. And in honor of Salad Month, I have written an article for "Drive the Nation" that you can read, here: SALADS ACROSS AMERICA
In that article I outline five salads that are worth driving out of your way to have... Check it out!
One of the salads that I had hoped to feature was the famous "Taco Salad". Taco Salad has some or all of these: Meat, Lettace, Cheese, Red Beans, Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream, and Olives. (Hint, you forgot the sour cream? Ranch dressing will do in a pinch!).
I have been trying to trace the origins of Taco Salad and have some promising leads, but no certainties about where it began. I know that the first time I had Taco Salad was in 1976, in Front Royal, Virginia. One of my high school friends had just started an elementary school teaching job there, and she made Taco Salad for dinner when I visited to congratulate her in her new job. She prepared me by saying that she was making something really different but really good. Now, if you grew up in Lancaster County PA, then anything "Tex-Mex" is "really different" and indeed it was pretty "cutting edge" for 1976. I know that there were taco salads before I first had one...and I am not sure where Darlene got the recipe. I should ask her.
Wikipedia says that Taco Salad emerged in the 1960s. Sounds like it was always there, but sort of came out of hibernation!
Maybe you can tell me where and when you first had a taco salad, and we can get closer to the source. As I say, most of best "earliest" information suggests that Taco Bell originated the recipe, much as they later originated the Crunch Wrap Supreme, one of my favorite fast food delights.
Jean Anderson says this in her book "Amercian Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipies of the 20th Century" (1997): "Did Taco Bell originate the Taco Salad? I've been unable to proved it did. Or didn't. The first recipe I could find for Taco Salad appeared in the May 1968 issue of Sunset." As in "Sunset" magazine.
Around here, other than the aforementioned restaurant, my other favorite place to have a Taco Salad or anything else, for that matter, is Tijuana Flats. I get a kick out of it when we go to our local "Hunt Club" Flats (which we do, often) and of late have been warmly greeted and then asked, "Have you been here before..." Yes, for about a decade and a half running!