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The ideal republic—embodied by the easy fusion of all of America's disparate parts—continues to remain elusive. This is not up for debate and never has been. And so, we must take our small victories as they come, tantalizingly slow and most often transmitted in small gestures, through culture, and, sometimes, from the flour-dusted counters of our kitchens.
Enter the Biscuit Taco, which emanates from all three. As Taco Bell explained in a released obtained by The Wire:
The Biscuit Taco pays homage to the traditional Southern biscuit – made with real butter and real buttermilk. And for that Taco Bell twist consumers have come to expect, the NEW signature jalapeno honey sauce (served with the Crispy Chicken and Honey Biscuit Taco) delivers just the right amount of heat.
Are we meant to be placated and consoled by the Biscuit Taco, Taco Bell’s newest and perhaps most symbolically important breakfast item? No, of course not.
But over at Slate, dark talk of doomsday was afoot:
Could this signal an existential crisis for the Taco Bell taco? Sure, the waffle taco was a stretch. But the fast-food breakfast wars were raging and Taco Bell needed something that stood out. And with its more pliant shell, fold of meat, and topping of eggs and syrup, at least the waffle taco kind of looked like a taco. The biscuit taco does not.
First of all, shame on anyone who dares to “other” the Biscuit Taco for its non-resemblance to normative tacos rather than the content of its shell.
Secondly, what about the Biscuit Taco’s context? The company claims it had the South in mind when it created the meal, but the American biscuit is not just traditional Southern fare—the American biscuit is also savory fare, a departure from our oppressive former British overseers for whom a biscuit is something sweet that one pairs with tea as an existential afterthought.
As the president dithers on his late-summer pledge for immigration reform, there are few items that truly symbolize what harmony could take flight if we reconciled our borders and cultures. It may not be much (beyond delicious), but a Tex-Mex breakfast sandwich that nods to the restive South? It sounds exactly like what Whitman's body electric would consume and what you and Bobby McGee would choose for a repast.
Sure, it may not look like a conventional taco, but all flags are just napkins until they're hoisted aloft for the world to see.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.