An Open Letter to Taco Bell
Dear Taco Bell:
I heard about the false-advertising lawsuit filed against you by a California woman alleging that the "seasoned ground beef" in your tacos, burritos, chalupas, etc., doesn't contain a whole lot of, you know... beef.
In fact, the woman's attorney is quoted as saying that only 15 percent of the taco filling is actual protein, that the rest is seasonings and stuff like isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch, and sodium phosphate.
This does not sound like "seasoned ground beef" to me. It sounds like crap. I even read a news report that says you fast-food-industry guys, when you're sitting around talking to each other in private -- probably not over a Taco Bell taco but a nice, thick, juicy Wagyu steak with a bottle of good Bordeaux -- call this stuff "taco meat filling," which may be more accurate but still sounds like corporate weasel-speak for crap.
I see today that you have released a statement challenging the lawsuit's alleged "inaccurate facts" (kind of like "true lies") and claiming your "seasoned ground beef" or "taco meat filling" or "crap" is 88 percent beef with 12 percent "seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture." That may be. But it still tastes like crap.
Now, I don't want to tell you how to run your business. But just in case your executives were too busy counting their annual bonuses or picking out the color of their new Mercedes SLKs to actually taste the food you're selling, I put together this little visual presentation to give you an idea of what a real taco is.
I bought a couple of your "seasoned ground beef" tacos from a local Taco Bell. Then I compared them to another pair of tacos I bought at this little Mexican joint in my neighborhood, Tacos al Carbon. They don't have a bazillion-dollar advertising budget or a yappy and annoying spokesdog, and in all of their years of existence, they probably haven't made as much money as you spend redecorating the executive washroom. But they do make a damned fine taco.
Pay attention now -- you might learn something.
This is one of your tacos and one of Tacos al Carbon's tacos. Which looks more appetizing?
This is both tacos deconstructed. Notice the difference?
Just to refresh your memory, this is where real ground beef comes from.
I hope your "taco meat filling" doesn't come from here.
And I really hope it doesn't come from here.
I patiently await your response.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.