Interview no. 1726
Meredith E. Abarca & Joshua I. Lopez
El Paso Food Voices
Summary of Interview
Saul Dario Torres, native of El Paso, Texas, shares his food memories and experience growing up in El Paso, and living in New Orleans, Louisiana, and San Antonio, Texas. His recollections take him back to perhaps one of the first “taquito/food trucks” to sell food at the Fox Plaza swap market on the weekends back in the mid to late 1980s, and at the San Lorenzo’s festival in Ysleta, Texas. His grandparents owned a food truck, which Saul calls the “taquito truck,” from where homemade menudo, hotdogs, steamed corn on the cob, among other foods where sold. What is memorable about this food truck is that this form of movable restaurant with a fully equipped kitchen was not as common in the 1980s as they are today. As Saul reminisces about earlier food experiences, menudo with francesito (Mexican white rolls), till “this day,” as he says, is a staple of his and his family’s diet. He recalls the aroma of tripe as its clean and cooked overnight, the texture and fragrance of dry oregano and the spiciness of red chiles. He talks about how the hotter the chile, the more his family likes it. He also remembers his mom’s culinary Mexican-American inventions such as “Mexican hotdogs”: a version of a flauta filled with a hotdog. He speaks of his “unintentional” creation and promotion of a type of Mexican topping on a pizza while working at a pizza establishment in New Orleans. While he speaks about how generally Mexican people in El Paso do not know how to “do steaks” as they are often overcooked, he speaks about the “only” food he knows how to prepare: grilled ribeye steak. As he reflects on his life-long relationship with food, he speaks about how food is a source of spirituality and communion, and how it should always be a source of enjoyment.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Torres, Saul D., "Interview no. 1726" (2019). Private Kitchens. 7.