It’s always surprising how such good stuff can come from…
This a great food myth: burritos as “little donkeys,” or “little asses.”
Most likely a Mexican-American word and food invention, the burrito name derives from a series of myths possibly circling around vaqueros (Mexican cowboys whose presence and influence was felt in Texas too) and California farm workers whose ingredient-filled and rolled tortillas resembled the rolled packs fastened to and carried on burros. Wrapped in foil, the burritos were set out in the hot Central Valley sun by farm workers to warm before they were consumed.
There is a good tale, too, about Juan Mendez who clip-clopped through the streets of a city on the Mexican-United States border on a burro selling rolled tortillas rolled and wrapped. (“Juan” and his image remind me of the fictional “Juan Valdez,” an image created to sell Colombian coffee.)
Another origin story has it that a street-food vendor in the 1940s sold snacks to poor school children whom he had — most unfortunately — referred to in a pejorative as burritos or “little dunces.” (Incidentally, the word “chooch” (from ciuccio) in Italian means jackass or dummy.)
In any event, the myths are almost as delicious as the burritos themselves and roll up into an extremely popular foodstuff here in Waterloo Region, perhaps leading off with the creations made by Holy Guacamole, a very successful and smartly conceptualized small local “chain” with six locations in Kitchener and Waterloo.
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