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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Reading Jill Rapaport - The Meaning of Taceria

Really tasty tacos for only $6 for 4!!!!
(from Dawn Crawford)
El Mil Tacos Taceria
Asheboro, NC
no copyright infringement intended

One of the stories in Jill Rapaport's recent book (Duchamp et Moi and Other Stories) has a title that firstly intrigued me: Taceria (pag. 26).

The story is taking place in a small taco restaurant on 23rd Street. A tensed situation starts from nothing and inflames all people inside the restaurant, patrons and staff altogether. It is calmed down as abruptly and absurdly as it started. And I remembered many tensed situations like this one, witnessed by me throughout the years, started from nothing and diffused from nothing. Only here in the book the whole evolution of the case is brilliantly constructed: it's a perfect example of self consistency. One detail less and you would feel that something is lacking. One more detail would give the impression of too much.

Now, after reading the story, coming back to the meaning of the title, it seems crystal clear: a taceria is just a taco place, no more no less. But here is the thing: if you look in any dictionary, you won't find taceria ever. Not even in the Urban Dictionary  (which is generally very candid). Instead, you will find taqueria - a word joining the name taco and the verb queria (which in Spanish means I wanted). The way taco and queria are joined is interesting: the word has three syllables - ta is the first part of taco; ria in the end is the second part of queria; que in the middle comes from taco as well as from queria. Well, mostly from taco or from queria? I would say more from taco (though the spelling is que), because many Spanish words designating stores end in ria: zapatería (shoe store), pescadería (fishmongery), carnicería (butcher's), etc. (what does taqueria mean).

After all these considerations, it would have made sense to use as title for the story Taqueria, isn't it? Not necessarily! Actually Taceria is an alternate spelling that entered the American English quite recently, thus both taqueria and taceria are perfectly legitimate and nowadays they are used interchangeably.

Here are some examples:

I've read some reviews from people who compare this to a taceria and they just dont get it. chipotle is actually the answer to  those that don't like greasy taquerias. I love all chipotles! this far from taco bell as some here have described it.

I walked back down Mission to a taceria and had a burrito and a Dos XX's which was confirmed to me as "one two ex's beer."

Taceria Juqulipa is located in Chehalis, WA on 917 Southwest Cascade Avenue.

I had them twice this week. Matamoros Puebla grocery in Brooklyn (Bedford bt. n6t+n7th - Bedford on the L); and Taceria Mexico in Queens (38th st of Broadway - Steinway on the RGV).

Super tacos mmmm.
Super Taceria
corner of Williams / 10th st. San Jose, CA
no copyright infringement intended

(Jill Rapaport)



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