Whenever you’re feeling down, you can always rely on the fast-food industry to put a smile on your face with some horribly bastardised but delicious mash-up. Take one look at how McDonald’s desperately try to shoehorn everywhere from India to Indiana into a burger bun and it’s impossible not to allow yourself a giggle.
Fast food’s global conquest has meant that almost every celebrated food culture has found itself on the receiving end of a dodgy tribute. By now, every major player in the industry has had a go at sprinkling their menu with some questionable international inspiration. No one, however, has ever managed to do it quite so spectacularly as Taco Bell.
A franchise that is our own personal reminder of what wonderful things can happen when two cultures clash, Taco Bell has always been the bold, brash counterargument to sticking with tradition. The vaguely Mexican and indisputably American hodgepodge is littered with mad examples of fast food’s potential for cultural creativity, and no dish demonstrates it quite like the inimitable “Mexican Pizza”.
Check out our own Mexican pizza made with Heinz ketchup:
For over three decades, the Bell’s unique blend of cheese-and-beef-stuffed quesadilla and tomato sauce-topped pie has delighted and confused diners. A pepper-studded cheesy topping made the whole thing look like the head of a monster from “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2”. The fact that it looked and sounded like a five-year-old’s idea of dinner only made it more appealing. This makes it all the more tragic that Mexican Pizza is now no more.
In an announcement that left everyone’s inner child heartbroken, Taco Bell revealed that the dish is one of many menu options destined for the chopping block. Citing concerns over packaging requirements and the company’s commitment to going green, executives made clear that the restaurant would no longer be serving Mexican Pizzas.
Predictably, public reaction to the news was a mixture of anguish and outrage. One Twitterer declared, “First they came for the Volcano Lava Sauce. Now they coming for my Mexican Pizza. How can I live más with all this sadness, Taco Bell?” She was not alone. As one, Bell fans across America mourned the loss of a true fast-food icon.
There’s no doubt that Taco Bell’s motivations in axing the popular hybrid are noble. But, even though it’s the responsible thing to do, this still feels like a sad day for fast-food. Anytime something as wonderfully absurd as a taco pizza gets removed from a menu, a little part of what makes the industry worthwhile dies. Fast food should be about reminding us that our appetites can be fun. Say what you like about the Mexican Pizza, but it never took itself too seriously.