Do you have a favorite fajita recipe or a favorite restaurant to order fajitas from? If so, mark your calendar. Tomorrow, Aug. 18, is National Fajita Day.
You may think that fajitas are one of the many tortilla-based staples that have been part of Mexican cuisine since time immemorial. If so, prepare to be disabused of that notion. According to the Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette Times, fajitas are so recent a development that the word, as a reference to a dish, didn’t appear in print until 1975.
That fact comes from research by Texas A & M University animal science professor Homero Recio, who in 1984 was provided with a fellowship to trace the origins of the dish, consisting principally of marinated and grilled skirt steak served in a wheat tortilla. As it turns out it was Recio’s own grandfather, a butcher in Premont, Texas in the 1930s, who may the ball rolling by using the term “fajita” to describe the cheap cut of beef — a thin layering of muscle that covers the diaphragm.”The tradition of marinating and grilling this piece of meat began in the 1940s with Mexican ranch workers living in West Texas near the Mexican border.”
So Recio obtained a fellowship to get to the bottom of the phenomenon. Two years later, he concluded that, coincidentally, it was his grandfather, a butcher in Premont, Texas, in the 1930s, who may have started referring to skirt steak — a thin layering of muscle that covers the diaphragm — as fajita.
Here, courtesy of National Today, are five more interesting facts about fajitas for your Fajita Day celebration:
1. ‘Fajita’ Translates to ‘little band’
In Spanish, fajita is a diminutive for “faja”, which translates to “belt” or “girdle.”
2. It’s a humble dish
Workers were given the least desirable parts of butchered steers and made fajitas from skirt steaks.
3. The term “Fajita King” is trademarked.
Sonny Falcon trademarked the term after gaining popularity from the dish in the 1970s
4. McDonald’s Tried it.
In 1991, McDonald’s attempted to introduce their own Chicken Fajitas into the market.
5. The original is called something different in Mexico
While in the U.S we know them as fajitas, the Mexican term for grilled skirt steak is arracheras.