Shew- how the semester flew by… It’s May and the first and famous “Taco Class” at UK is coming to an end. Last semester (Fall ’15) when I heard about the class, I would’ve never expected it to 1. have received so much publicity 2. have been so much fun and 3. be enriched with cultural and applicable information. A lot of people didn’t believe me when I said I was taking a Taco Class- until I bought my textbooks (Taco USA, Tacopedia, Taco Planet, and Tortillas). I have kept them all up to date with the most revelation “taco information” via my blog, and Instagram account for the class.
For me, taking this class was merely to fulfill a core requirement to graduate. I am a Nursing major and never would’ve thought I would be taking a class about tacos and Mexican Culture. I am not the writing or English type. I am more a math and science person. But this class made it fun for me to read and write! It was all blog posts and pages, so none of it was too formal and stressful to write. And plus, it was predominately about food, so who wouldn’t be happy? I would have to do research for a few of my papers and I would get to eat some delicious food from different restaurants all around Lexington. Let’s just say, I could do that kind of research any day over a lab report.
But we did do more than just searching for the best Mexican food in Lexington. We Skyped with several well-known food writers and had the opportunity to ask them about their careers, how they became successful, and a little bit about their love of food. We had Gustavo Arellano, then Javier Cabral and last but not least, Anna Barry Jester as Skype. And we had a guest speaker in class- the one and only Senora Pati Ramirez of Torilleria y Taqueria Ramirez. They all gave us such great advice and had funny quirks as writers. Which is similar to what I found out about all of my classmates, the Taco Crew. We all are unique and different- none of us are exactly alike, have the same background or even the same taste buds. I came into the class knowing no one and by the end of this semester we had shared our love of not just tacos, but Mexican food and culture. We had class twice a week, a food field trip and outside projects that helped us all grow closer; and not to mention to accidental run-ins at restaurants for #TacoTuesday.
The assignments (posted as pages on my blog) were all really interesting and fun to do and research for. I actually wanted to learn about the history of nachos/cheese or talk to a fellow student and learn about his day to day as a “Mexican American” student, as he said. That assignment was very broad and we could take it anywhere so it was nice to have flexibility, unlike some other English or writing classes would be. I was paired up with a classmate and then we were given a Latin Student Union member to interview. We asked him a lot of questions regarding to food, culture and what he thinks about the University of Kentucky and the efforts to be a diverse campus.
I really have felt myself be able to grow in this class. I have been able to harness my love of food and culture and actually enjoy writing about them. Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the US South was a class that I can never imagine taking at UK and I never would’ve thought I would’ve compared a tortilla totrade or cultural appropriation. But, it’s been fun, informative and delicious- I cannot complain. As some would say, that’s a wrap- a burrito wrap!