A topic got started in Boston that outgrew the region so we're moving it here. The estimable Eric Eto (I've gone looking for Speed twice in the past few months & haven't caught him yet) and JeffB pose good counterpoints to 'what is an authentic taco'? (see link below for background)
As a Mexican, I've come to realize that "authentic" is a difficult term, because there are not only several states in Mexico, but several (to steal a term someone else once used on Chowhound) "Chow Micro-climates" of Mexicans living in the United States. Now, growing up in the extremely Mexican-laden South Omaha, for at least the past 25 years, and well before the advent of Taco Bell in the city, the Mexicans in our neighborhood fried their tacos to be crispy. Our tacos were something like the gordita or maybe a split-open empanada JeffB describes, yet are no less a taco by community standards (lots of Mexican migrant farm workers and meat-packing workers settled in the area). Our enchiladas, including those made by my grandmother, were always made of flour tortillas (which I once mentioned on the board, and our estimable Mexican authority Cristina replied to me, "TORTILLAS DE HARINA????? Ay mija nunca en mi vida...bueno pues, si tu abuelita las hacía así, quién soy yo para decir que no?"). Yes. Flour tortillas. Si, mi abuela.
If the argument is, are Mexicans in Mexico making tacos with crispy fried corn tortillas, the answer is perhaps 'no'. But, if the question is, are Mexicans living in the US doing this, the answer is yes, and they have been for at least two generations. Is this less authentic? I would argue not. In fact, I'd fear for my life to tell those old women they weren't making authentic tacos.
Link: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]