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Cook the Book: 'Tacos'

20090427-tacos-ctb.jpgMost people in the U.S. think of Cinco de Mayo as a great excuse to break out the chips and salsa and drink a bunch of Coronas or margaritas. It's a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. In fact, the real Mexican Independence Day falls on September 16; the 5th of May isn't even a Mexican federal holiday. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla, in which an outnumbered Mexican Army defeated the French Army in an unlikely victory in 1862. That's enough history, let's move on to the tacos.

Tacos are quintessential Mexican street food, sold from roadside stands, and they are meant to be eaten on the go and out of hand. In the early twentieth century, tacos started their northern migration across the U.S. border. Tacos have become ubiquitous throughout the U.S., from authentic Mexican restaurants to Tex-Mex and Cali-Mex places to school cafeterias to fast food chains. The U.S. loves tacos.

Mark Miller, chef-founder of The Coyote Cafe, has written a book entirely devoted to tacos. Tacos features recipes for every type of taco filling imaginable: breakfast tacos like Potatoes with Chile Raja and Scrambled Eggs; vegetarian tacos with Squash Blossoms, Green Chiles, and Cheese; and some creative riffs on Mexican classics Ceviche with Coconut and Ginger. Each recipe in Tacos is annotated with suggestions for the appropriate type of tortilla, accompanying salsa, garnish, and beverage.

Here at Serious Eats we have decided to bring you a taco a day in honor of Cinco de Mayo. This week you can look forward to plenty of delicious taco inspirations, such as Rajas and Cheese, Baja-Style Tempura Fish Tacos, and Tacos Al Pastor. Caroline Russock

Win 'Tacos,' by Mark Miller

We are giving away five (5) copies of Tacos this week. All you have to do is tell us about your most memorable taco experience in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. Comments will close Monday, May 4 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules appy.

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