While every cook introduces her own personal flavor to Mexican food, her tastes as well as the food change through the encounter . . .. Now firmly established as a global cuisine, Mexican food will continue to evolve, together with the tastes of its countless aficionados. (188)
Planet Taco writer Jeffrey M. Pilcher effects, to my mind, the perfect summation of the perception of “authenticity” with this quote. One might wish to visit Mexico to taste more “original” Mexican flavors, but even those have been altered over generations to become something new. Indeed, each region to which Mexican food is brought will put its own spin on it, not out of malice, but out of ingenuity. And the same goes for other foods as well; as cultures spread throughout the world, as we all grow closer to each other, cultural blending is bound to occur, and this is a good, important, valuable thing. The expansion in breadth of appeal for the various types of food in existence—which are certainly far too numerous to count—is evidence that people of all cultures may bond over the experience of consuming good food together.
For these reasons, I couldn’t care less whether the flavors that enticed my palate on Saturday were “authentic” or not. They were delicious, and made with the whole-hearted involvement of people who are proud of the food they create. That is what matters.
So whether you’re slurping up birria in Jalisco or in Lexington, or chowing down on hard-shelled tacos from the Bell, each iteration of the evolution of Mexican food is, in itself, a miniature revolution. The changes and the results are parts of a natural process that shows we are all growing together, sharing our experiences, and becoming more wordly as a result. So share a popsicle and a paleta, or whatever you desire; you’re part of the process—the vivacious maturation of a more connected globe.