Mr. Trump: On your Cinco de Mayo “Taco” Bowl


By Laura Esquivel, visionary Mexican novelist, screenwriter, essayist, author of Like Water for Chocolate

How could I explain what a taco is to you, Mr. Trump? Maybe I’d have to start by explaining what a tortilla is, or better yet, what a corncob is. Beginning with how corn is planted, how it’s harvested, how it makes its way to our tables. Corn is a sacred food in our cultures. It is believed to have been a gift from Quetzalcoatl to men for our sustenance (I’m sorry, I might be going to fast, do you even know who I’m talking about?) It’s ok, never mind. The point it, corn is the base of our diet. We cook it in many different ways, all of them very nutritious and tasty. Immigrant farmers and day laborers —those you seem to despise so much—know how to plant it, harvest it, and bring it to their table to be shared in an act of reciprocity to the earth’s enormous generosity.

How to explain to you, in simple terms, what generosity is? Suffice it to say, I’m certain that those immigrants who have been forced to leave their lands behind and put their lives in danger to cross the border, wouldn’t hesitate for a second before offering you a real taco if you were starving. If they found you in the street, penniless, homeless, jobless and without friends. Because hey know firsthand the profound grief that a human experiences under those circumstances, and they would try to alleviate your situation. They would even do so without expecting anything in return, although I’m also sure that you might find a way to thank them. Or maybe you wouldn’t even know how to react.

How can I explain to you the gratitude that surges from one’s heart after receiving help? Maybe the ones best suited to explain this to you through their own experiences would be the south Americans (not Hispanics) who cross Mexico on “The Beast” and that are fed by “Las Patronas”, those admirable Mexican women who cook for them. Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you know of this train? Of those women? Do you even know what hunger is? What about necessity? Abuse? Discrimination? The pain caused by watching someone starve to death? The profound injustice of an economic system that creates poor people only to mock them after? I would venture to guess that you don’t. You know nothing about this, just like you know nothing about so many other things.

I’ll leave you now, but before I go I just want to explain that the 5th of May is not even an official holiday in Mexico, and that I hope someday you’ll be offered a real taco.


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  • Matthew Mender
    commented 2018-01-26 12:52:15 -0500
    Beautiful article! I already know several of her books. I want to read more about this writer.
  • Tere Magaña
    commented 2016-05-15 15:04:18 -0400
    Hats off to great writer Laura Esquivel. It is so refreshing to see how gracious she finds the taco topic to teach about our culture and its loving relationship to Mother Earth.

    It is good to be reminded about generosity and respect to others, hoping that the world would become s better one.
  • Frank Glass
    commented 2016-05-15 11:59:01 -0400
    This is beautiful, powerful, and poignant. Thank you.

    It is surprising that whoever posted it did not re-read it, because the last couple of paragraphs were repeated. It dishonors Laura Esquivel’s writing, to an extent, to not replicate it faithfully.