Despite all the money spent on hiring up, despite the spinoffs into "longform journalism" (what us at the OC Weekly have called "reporting" since 1995), politics and an investigative unit, the sentient world still thinks of Buzzfeed as an outlet for 20-some-year-old writers and readers to feel like they've accomplished something by investing the least amount of effort. And nowhere is this more evident than in a recent Buzzfeed listicle called "13 Dishes That Aren't Actually Mexican."
This article is Buzzfeed's journalism reduced to one embarrassment of a combo plate: do the least research possible. When doing research, rely on third-hand sources like Wikipedia. When using second-hand-sources, rely on whatever Google tells you. And avoid first-hand source at all costs because, you know, that actually takes work.
- 15 Signs You Grew Up Eating Tex-Mex Food
- 15 Signs You Grew Up Eating Mexican Food in Southern California
For instance, take their entry for margaritas, which they claim were invented in Texas in the 1960s. Their source for this? A Wikipedia article…that also cites an Esquire recipe from the 1950s. And the listicle just goes downhill from there. Fajitas are pegged to 1930s Texas…even though the first documented use of the term only goes back to the 1970s, and actual food scholars know that the tradition came from the borderlands of South Texas and northern Mexico, which is one and the same: Mexican. Buzzfeed claims El Cholo Cafe in Los Angeles "served the first restaurant-style burrito in the 1930s"…even though the first El Cholo menus to feature burritos only date to the 1970s and the earliest documented burritos in the U.S. only date to the 1950s. Hard-shell tacos are dated to a 1914 recipe…even though the Los Angeles Times was making references to tacos in Mexico City during the 1890s–and last we checked Mexico City was Mexican. And while they correctly pegged Tapatío's birthplace in Maywood, California, they conveniently left out that is creator, Jose-Luis Saavedra is–you guessed it!–Mexican who wanted a Mexican hot sauce like the kind he used to eat in his native Mexico.
And it goes on like this, with the most laughable entry being the one for nachos, which Buzzfeed admits itself that they were invented by a Mexican in "the bordertown of Piedras Negras in Mexico," then somehow decides that this means nachos aren't Mexican. Actually, the most pendejo entry has to be the one on taquitos, which credited as being invented at the legendary Cielito Lindo in Los Angeles. Their source for this? My own Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, researched with primary sources. If the Buzzfeed writers (two of them for this!) would've read a sentence before what Google Books spat out for their search terms, they would've discovered that I wrote that Cielito Lindo's owner was merely selling the taquitos of her native state of Zacatecas, which we last heard was Mexican.
In sum, Buzzfeed's listicle of 13 had seven entries that state outright lies, four that are fibs (queso, Taco Bell, Tostitos, and chimichangas, while all born in the U.S., nevertheless came from Mexican-Americans inspired by Mexican food and living in Greater Mexico aka the American Southwest and are thus Mexican food), and only two actually true entries (churros and rosca de reyes). Of course, America doesn't give a shit about actual facts: at last count, this pendejada had been shared over 40,000 times on Facebook and garnered nearly 600,000 page views. And that, Mr. and Mrs. Millennial, is why your generation is fucked.