The most coveted job in America might be Texas’s new taco editor
His first day of work was last week, and Jose Ralat now officially has the most coveted job in America.
“I am Texas Monthly‘s taco editor.”
Yes, Jose is a taco editor. And it’s a full-time job.
“I will be traveling quite a bit. I’m thinking constantly,” Ralat laughs, saying he’ll be covering tacos throughout the entire state of Texas.
Texas Monthly, a magazine that one out of seven Texans read every month, already has a dedicated barbecue editor and tacos are just as popular, if not more, in Texas.
“I think a lot of it is that tacos are more approachable, they are definitely more affordable than barbecue. In Texas we eat tacos and Mexican food several times a week because it’s everywhere,” he said.
And Ralat won’t just stick to the classics like carne asada and barbacoa. Immigration has added a lot of diversity to the American taco scene.
“I’m talking about immigrant populations from all over the world,” he noted. “For example, Houston has a large East Indian and Vietnamese population which is creating its own taco culture that I’m very excited about. You also have what looks to be the only Cajun taco place in the state in Houston and it’s amazing. Gumbo, jambalaya, etouffée, boudin sausage.”
People like to throw the word “authentic” around when it comes to food. “A Cajun taco isn’t authentic.” “Authentic street tacos shouldn’t have this or that on them.” But those Cajun tacos are authentic Cajun tacos! They’re not trying to be something they’re not.
“There are a lot of misconceptions, a lot of ‘My grandmother made real Mexican food so I know Mexican food.’ That kind of thing,” said Ralat. “The first time I went to Brownsville, Texas, in the southwest corner of the state right on the border, the tacos were beef tacos covered in white, crumbled queso fresco. Somebody immediately commented that those weren’t actually Mexican tacos. Never mind that Mexicans made them and that’s what Mexicans eat there.”
Between this job and the book he’s writing about tacos, Ralat eats tacos almost every day. Obviously he loves them, but doesn’t he ever get tired of tacos?
“There was one occasion where I thought, okay, that’s it, I need a few days,” he joked. “That was in Brownsville after spending three days on the same stretch of road eating nothing but tacos. I thought I was done. I was broken. But three hours later I was eating tacos!”
Ralat isn’t just a taco reviewer, he plans to tell stories about people and add nuggets of history and culture, and sometimes politics and current events, to his taco column.
“Hopefully that will humanize these hardworking folk who may not be the best friends of certain people with certain political persuasions. I believe tacos are a force for good. Everyone loves a taco.”
In case you were wondering, Ralat’s favorite taco is a chile relleno taco.