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Publishers WeeklyFew will be able to resist chowing down after reading this mostly accessible history of Mexican food. Pilcher (Food in World History), a history professor at the University of Minnesota, makes it clear that "Mexican food, like the Mexican nation, was the product of globalization." Accordingly, he tracks the spread of Mexican cuisine from the kitchens of indigenous Mexicans, to the taco trucks of the American Southwest, to Old El Paso canned goods in Tokyo supermarkets, and beyond. Among Pilcher's many case studies are the intriguing tales of racial tensions surrounding an L.A. taco shop's "African Tacos," which were stuffed with black-eyed peas; and that of Thomas Estes, a young American gym teacher who opened "Europe's first Mexican restaurant," stocked with paraphernalia donated by the Pacífico brewery, in Amsterdam in 1976. Many of Pilcher's anecdotes are entertaining and informative, but the glut of stories too often leaves the author with little time to do justice to each. Nevertheless, folks looking to supplement their favorite meal with some food for thought need look no further. 46 photos.
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