The 10 Taco Commandments
On the first day, God said let there be light. On the second, he said something about water or something. And, lo, on the third day, he brought forth the taco tree. And they were good. As long as they followed these rules.
The following maxims might not have come verbatim from a deity, but we believe this is the type of fire that His Holiest of Habaneros would spit were He to lay down some guiding principles for His taco-slinging disciples. And for those who think it blasphemous to worship a false, tortilla-wrapped idol, we offer our sincerest condolences and endless fish tacos.
Thou shall stuff to capacity, and then a little more
The meek may inherit the Earth, but that is not true for tacos. Meek tacos do not inherit anything except scorn. And there is a special place in hell for those who serve them. A truly righteous taco shall resemble the patron saint of physical comedy, Chris Farley: it should look like a fat guy in a little coat.
Thou shall honor thy taco father and taco mother
Trendy taco joints have spread through the land faster than a plague of locusts, and locusts don't necessarily taste great. Blessed are they, the weary that have been selling tacos for a long time, for they are the keepers of tradition.
Thou shalt not skimp on the cheese, and lest it be fresco, thou shall let it melt
On the sixth day, the Taco God said "let there be cheese covering most any taco that isn't served with just onions and cilantro". But some of his followers have chosen a life of stinginess, dusting their tacos with so few strands of shredded Jack that you could count them on two hands. Let fire rain on those who hoard their queso. And let a torturous eternity await those who serve a taco under a handful of cold cheese.
Thou shalt not charge $6 for a taco
This is the equivalent of money changers operating out of the temple. It might make financial sense, but even the most mild-mannered pacifists are gonna want to throw over the table when the check arrives. If a truly exceptional high-end taco should command such a price, it must be served on gold leaf tinfoil, look more like a mountain than a mole hill, and be served with a fresh side of guilt from the server.
Thou shalt not use crappy tortillas
This is the tortilla which cometh from heaven, that man may eat thereof, and not die (John 6:50, kinda). But may great vengeance and furious anger strike down any taco shop that cuts corners by using crappy tortillas, especially given our country's great bounty of tortilla factories. Furthermore, should you serve corn tortillas, thou shall use two tortillas for every taco.
Thou shall be consistent with size
Thou might order one taco or two tacos or five tacos. Or 10 tacos or 20 tacos! But no matter the number, when returning to a trusted taco purveyor ye shall know no other taco size than what you received last time. If the taco size isn't consistent, then odds are it's not the only thing that's changing from visit to visit. No man should unknowingly order two tacos when three are needed.
Thou shalt not overcharge for avocado
"Listen carefully to me, and you will eat well, you will enjoy the fat of the land," said some guy named Isaiah. Avocado is a welcome guest in the home of nearly any tortilla, but far too often the greed of the few takes precedent over the satisfaction of the masses. You shouldn't have to pay a buck for a slice of avocado on top of your $2 taco.
Thou shall stop referring to fusion tortilla wraps as tacos
There is no other taco than taco. Just because you fold a sea of Asian ingredients into a limp tortilla does not make it a taco. To qualify as a taco, there has to be at least one traditional taco ingredient other than the tortilla. Lemongrass is not one of them.
Thou shalt not overlook breakfast ingredients
A righteous prophet once decreed that breakfast tacos are better than bagels. So it is written, and so it shall be. Too often, noble taco vendors forget that the canon of ingredients includes eggs, bacon, and crispy fried potatoes.
Thou shall have pride in your tacos, or not have tacos at all
Forget all that stuff the Bible says about pride being bad. If you are proud at heart with regard to tacos, you are not an abomination to the Lord! You are an upstanding disciple of the one true Taco! But far too often, heretic restaurants will just throw a few tacos on their menu in order to cash in on the zeal of true believers. If you can't stand behind your tacos, you shouldn't have them on the menu.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food and drink team. He enjoys tacos, writing with ancient diction, and politely apologizing to religious commenters. Follow him to more it's-just-a-jokes at @Dannosphere.