Fajita

From Academic Kids

In the lexicon of food, a fajita generically refers to grilled meat served on a flour tortilla with condiments. Popular meats are beef, chicken, pork and shrimp. They are often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. In restaurants, the fajita meat is traditionally brought to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter or skillet, with the tortillas and condiments served on the side.

In Spanish, fajita is a form of the word faja which translates to "belt" or "girdle" in English. Butchers along the Texas border with Mexico used the word to refer to the diaphragm muscle of a steer. The cut is known in the US as the skirt steak, and it remains popular for making fajitas. Researchers found references to Hispanic ranch hands eating this cut of beef in a tortilla with condiments as early as the 1930s but the word fajita is not known to have appeared in print until 1975. Fajitas are primarily a Tex-Mex dish. Ninfa Laurenzo (Mama Ninfa), a well-known and pioneering Houston restaurateur, is generally accepted to have invented the dish as it is made today, though at her restaurant, Mama Ninfa's in Houston, the menu calls it tacos al carbon. [1] (http://www.houstonpress.com/issues/2000-09-28/cafe.html)

Use of the word fajita has evolved from the term for a cut of beef to include the cooking method (thus chicken fajita) and also to define the grilled strips of peppers and onions that usually accompany the meat. This last step might be supported by the similarity of the word fajitas to the word rajitas, diminutive of rajas, a term used in Mexico to describe these strips.

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