Gustavo Arellano had a good piece in yesterday's LAT Food section on the lack of true Zacatecan food to be found in Southern California's gazillion Mexican restaurants. It's surprising, since as he says:
The state is to modern-day Southern California what Iowa was for a previous generation of Angelenos: a place known for its work ethic and its conservative values, and for sending hundreds of thousands of its residents to our sunny wonderland.
And just as Hawkeyes became legendary for their Long Beach picnics, Zacatecans are renowned among Mexicans for their fiestas: massive weddings scored with the brass-band booms of tamborazo, all-day rodeos and baseball tournaments, fundraiser dances that collect and remit more money back to Mexico than expats from any other state. And at all the events, regional food reigns.
Zacatecans and their descendents occupy all rungs of Southern California life, including Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, Hollywood sexpot Jessica Alba and yours truly, son of two parents who came from tiny villages in the mountains above the city of Jerez.
Huizar joins in the lament, telling Arellano "You'd think with all the [zacatecanos] here, you'd have more of a presence of our food....Every time I go down to Zacatecas, I always order asado. It's so delicious, but I wonder why it's not up here, why I have to call a relative in Anaheim to make it or wait for a wedding." Arellano is working on a book about the history of Mexican food in the United States.