While Nicole and I were eating at Chipotle today, I looked up “burrito” on Wikipedia and came across this most entertaining page:
Some of my favorite tidbits:
- The aluminum foil wrapping–present whether the customer is eating in the restaurant or taking out–acts as a structural support to ensure that the flexible tortilla does not burst its contents. One of the main difficulties of the San Francisco burrito is the issue of structural integrity, but skilled burrito makers consistently produce huge burritos which do not burst when handled or eaten. A successfully large burrito depends on an understanding of the outer limit of potential burrito volume, correct steam hydration, proper folding technique, and perhaps most of all, assuring that the burrito ingredients have been properly drained of excess liquid.
- As the Mission District faced increasing gentrification, particularly during the dot-com boom, some elements of the San Francisco burrito experience became politicized. One activist disdained the practice of charging extra for chips and salsa, for instance, as an anti-Mexican symptom of gentrification. Some taquerias also offer additional types of flour tortillas (for instance, whole wheat or spinach), but this same activist declared, “I will shoot my son and daughter if they ever order a green burrito.” These comments likely reflect a larger anxiety among SF burrito fans of all ethnicities that gentrification of the Mission could destroy the soul not only of the neighborhood but of the burrito.
- anxieties about gentrification do not always require an orthodox attitude about the burrito: it could also be argued that the increasing number of options for fillings and tortillas simply extend the original innovation of the modular assembly model, designed to cater to the tastes of individuals, and thus do not violate the larger philosophical integrity of the San Francisco burrito.